March 2008

Friday afternoon camp tidbits

* To cap off the morning’s rotation notes, Wellemeyer will get the start Sunday. It will be Thompson on Monday, then Reyes on Tuesday. Looper, whose turn is Tuesday, will pitch in the Minors. The idea is that they don’t want him facing Washington 10 days before he will face them in the regular season.

* Jason Isringhausen is scheduled to pitch again tomorrow, his first times going back-to-back this spring.

* Ryan Ludwick hit the ball very hard today. His single was solidly struck, although it dropped in pretty short. He hit a rocket of a line drive, then thumped a home run. Probably the best I’ve seen him hit it all year.

Speaking of Ludwick, this morning, I was interviewing D’Angelo Jimenez — whose locker is right next to Ludwick’s. At the end of the lineup, I said to Jimenez, ‘Are you going to drive in Ludwick today?’ Ludwick joked, ‘If I get on first base and he hits a single, I’m scoring.’

Well, what do you know? Ludwick got on first base with a single. He took second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Jimenez single. Not exactly like it was drawn up, but not a bad call.

* TLR praised D’Angelo Jimenez’s approach, even though Jimenez took two called third strikes with runners on base.

* Brendan Ryan has a very long day scheduled with the doctors tomorrow. It sounds like they’ll be doing all sorts of exams on him to make sure he’s dealing with exactly what they think he’s got.

Today’s playlist:
Elvis Costello, "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes"
John Mayer Trio, "Good Love Is On the Way"
Steve Winwood, "Different Light"
Bruce Springsteen, "Jungleland"
Everclear, "Her Brand New Skin"

-M.

Friday camp tidbits

Busy morning already, so here is the morning news:

* Joel Pineiro is throwing a bullpen today and will pitch in a Triple-A game on Monday.

* Matt Clement will throw a bullpen tomorrow and will pitch in a Minor League game on Tuesday.

* Sunday’s starter will be either Reyes or Wellemeyer, with the other pitching in a B-game or the Minors or something. Then Monday in Fort Myers it will be Brad Thompson. It appears, just by reading tea leaves, that Thompson is in the season-opening rotation and Reyes is out, but that’s far from announced.

* D’Angelo Jimenez starting at shortstop today.

* Molina, Kennedy and Izturis all get the day off today. Not only are they not in the starting lineup, they have brackets around their names on the card — ie, they have a true day off.

-M.

Thursday camp tidbits

Lotta stuff going on, so let’s hit the highlights:

* Brendan Ryan will see the doctor on Saturday, and will be held out until then, as he nurses his intercostal strain.

* Tyler Johnson met with Paletta today and has shown some progress. They’ll check again in a couple of days, at which point they’ll determine the continuing course of action.

* Juan Gonzalez saw a doctor and has had the possibility of a hernia ruled out, but he’s still not able to play. In fact, he will be scaled back from the level of activity he previously was doing.

* A number of Minor Leaguers were released today, including former high draft picks Mike Ferris and Eric Haberer, and last year’s camp sensation, Dennis Dove.

* Aaron Miles went out and took some swings on the back fields today, as Chris Duncan and Juan Gonzalez have done in recent days.

* For those curious, and I know some of you are, Colby Rasmus is wearing No. 11 in a Memphis uniform at this point. Just thought I’d throw it out there.

* Loved today’s lineup, even though it didn’t produce. I think a perfect 1-5 for this team on a lot of days will be just how they did it, Barton-Duncan-Pujols-Ankiel-Glaus. I’d probably flip Kennedy up into the 6 spot and Molina down to 7, but overall, that’s how I’d order them on days when those players all play.

Today’s playlist consists of B-sides, alternates, and other rarities and the like:
R.E.M., "Crazy"
Smashing Pumpkins, "Starla"
Rolling Stones, "Memo From Turner"
Pearl Jam, "Yellow Ledbetter"
U2, "Hallelujah Here She Comes"

-M.

Wednesday camp tidbits

Greetings from Fort Lauderdale. Unlike Vero Beach, if we never come back to this facility again it will be no heartbreak. Here are today’s notes…

* Isringhausen threw a very good inning and said he felt just fine.

* Big day for Chris Duncan, who had three hits in the Minors and two in the big league game — including a home run at each location.

* Brendan Ryan is dealing with a strained right intercostal muscle, which they don’t seem to believe is too serious. Nonetheless, he was unavailable today. Took some swings in the morning but did not participate in BP.

Not a lot else to offer, I’m afraid. Most of the morning’s chat with TLR was regarding Ryan and Cesar Izturis, and I’ll roll that into a story a little later this afternoon. So check the site. Otherwise, I leave you with today’s playlist.

Neneh Cherry: "Buffalo Stance"
New Order: "Round and Round"
Al Green: "Take Me to the River"
The Cinematics: "Chase"
Liz Phair: "Help Me Mary"

(all but the first have been randomly shuffled into play by my iPod today… not a bad day!)

-M.

Rasmus, Mather among six cuts

The Cardinals had their first really significant round of cuts today.

Colby Rasmus, Mark Johnson and Clayton Mortensen were re-assigned to Minor League camp.

Mike Parisi, Jason Motte and Joe Mather were optioned to Triple-A.

There are now 15 position players in camp, 16 healthy pitchers and six sidelined pitchers (counting Carpenter, Clement, T.Johnson, Mulder, Kinney and Pineiro)

Story to follow.
-M.

Monday camp tidbits

The Cardinals are decked out in green jerseys with green caps. It’s not a bad look, actually, with one exception — Anthony Reyes’ high red striped socks don’t really go that well with the green.

A few notes in advance of tipping a couple of half-and-halfs later tonight…

* Kyle Lohse threw 70 pitches over four simulated innings against Class A hitters this morning. Actually, they weren’t exactly simulated innings, because he was going for pitch counts rather than outs. He got a total of 20 outs over four "innings" and looked good in doing so.

* Also pitching, and pitching well, in that simulated game was Mike Parisi. Dave Duncan gushed about Parisi afterwards. Here’s his comment when I asked about Parisi:

"He’s going to pitch in the big leagues. I don’t know when it’s going to be, but he’s got big league stuff. He’s got a big league arm. Big league pitches."

* Juan Gonzalez and Chris Duncan took swings in the sim game. Duncan looked OK, got a hit and seemed to do a decent job. Gonzalez just appeared to be laboring, and clearly winced on at least one or two swings.

* However, I just heard from John Mozeliak that Gonzalez’s MRI has been read and was "normal."

* Braden Looper threw a second pen today and was very deliberate. Just working hard on staying back and keeping the ball down. Story on this later on the site.

* Pineiro threw a bullpen. He’ll likely throw another in two or three days before he even starts throwing to hitters. They’re going to take it slowly with him.

* Isringhausen is a little better. TLR said if it was the season, he could pitch, but they’ll be cautious and hold him till Wednesday.

Today’s playlist, including a little St. Patrick’s Day flavor:
Cold War Kids: "We Used to Vacation" (amazing song, but geez it’s depressing)
Mark Ronson: "Stop Me" (heard this for the first time this morning; great stuff)
Gnarls Barkley: "Run"
Dropkick Murphys: "I’m Shipping Up to Boston"
New Order: "Everything’s Gone Green"

-M.

Sunday camp tidbits, final

Just a few final notes before I head home for the evening…

* Kyle Lohse will throw to hitters tomorrow. Dave Duncan estimated that Lohse will throw about 70 pitches. Since Mike Parisi wasn’t used today, Parisi will probably alternate innings with Lohse tomorrow in a simulated game.

* Kelvin Jimenez is probably the one player I have most underestimated in my roster projections. It sounds like he’s in a very good position to be one of the relievers on the roster. Far from set in stone, but he’s in good shape.

* Matt Clement will probably play a light catch session on Tuesday, then throw to hitters again on Thursday — giving him one extra day between throws.

* Congrats to Jeff Burton on a very nice win at Bristol — that’s karma, paying him for not wrecking Kyle Busch last year.

* Butler, a 7 seed? Brutal. Just brutal.

-M.

Izzy scratched

Jason Isringhausen was scratched from a scheduled appearance today due to some back stiffness. He could pitch tomorrow. Pretty much everyone downplayed it, and Isringhausen was gone by the time we got to the clubhouse.

I’ll have a story up on the site shortly.

-M.

Sunday camp tidbits

* Chris Duncan went out on the back fields to take at-bats in the Minor League games today. Just trying to get him as many ABs as possible, to help him try to get back on track.

* The club is still waiting to hear on Juan Gonzalez’s MRI. They expect to have it read by a radiologist tomorrow.

* Cesar Izturis tripled, finally getting his hit total as high as his error total. Perhaps more interesting, the Cardinals have a legitimate shot at totaling more triples this SPRING (9 so far) than all of last season (13 — ouch).

* Matt Clement threw to hitters today and wasn’t quite as sharp as last time, but was OK. He left a lot of balls up in his first "inning," then did a better job of getting it down after a break.

* I’ll have a story later today on the roster, basically arguing that the offensive half of the roster is pretty much set. Things COULD change, but I’m not sure there are any real decisions left.

Today’s playlist:
Eddie Vedder, "Hard Sun"
Pearl Jam, "In Hiding"
Jack Johnson, "If I Had Eyes"
John Lennon, "Gimme Some Truth"
Pulp, "Common People"

-M.

Roster projection, fifth guess

Things are much clearer on the offensive side than they were, and much less clear on the pitching side.

Starting pitchers (5)
Adam Wainwright
Braden Looper
Kyle Lohse
Todd Wellemeyer
Anthony Reyes

Relief pitchers (7)
Jason Isringhausen
Russ Springer
Ryan Franklin
Brad Thompson
Kyle McClellan
Randy Flores
Ron Villone

Catchers (2)
Yadier Molina
Jason LaRue

Infielders (6)
Albert Pujols
Adam Kennedy
Cesar Izturis
Troy Glaus
Aaron Miles
Brendan Ryan

Outfielders (5)
Rick Ankiel
Chris Duncan
Ryan Ludwick
Skip Schumaker
Brian Barton

As I see it, there are really only 14 players still with a legitimate shot of breaking camp — the 13 listed above, plus Joe Mather. Mark Johnson won’t be on the team. I’m very confident that Colby Rasmus will start out in Memphis. D’Angelo Jimenez isn’t making this team. And Juan Gonzalez’s bid looks finished, at least for now.

On the pitching side, it’s downright impossible to make a real projection. The possibility DOES exist that Pineiro could open the season on the active roster, but not taking a turn until the second week. I’m not sure exactly how that would work, fallout-wise, but my guess is that Reyes would be the one to lose out, somehow or other.

-M.

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