March 2008

Saturday camp tidbits: Gonzalez still out

* Juan Gonzalez is once again not on the travel roster. He underwent an MRI yesterday and they should know more today.

* Joel Pineiro will play a longer catch today and is building toward a bullpen, which should be sometime next week, either Monday or Wednesday.

* Brad Thompson, whose turn to pitch was tomorrow, is on the travel roster today. I didn’t get a chance to talk to TLR or Dunc before the bus left, but since nothing here is accidental, I’m deducing that this may be a significant sign.

* Kyle Lohse is wearing No. 26.

-M.

Friday camp tidbits

First, farewell to my single favorite place in baseball. It will be really, really sad to leave Dodgertown for the last time. This place is an absolute gem. Here’s hoping the Orioles are in here SOON, but even then it won’t be the same.

But as for today’s spring notes and bits…

* Per Dave Duncan, Lohse will throw to hitters in a simulated game on Monday, and his next outing after that will be in a game (unless he throws a normal side session on, say, Wednesday, like pitchers often do between games).

* Still no day for Clement to get in a game, but everyone was really impressed with his throw yesterday.

* Pineiro played catch today. I’ve had a hard time tracking anyone down to confirm exactly what the medical staff determined when they met with him, but if he was allowed to play catch, it has to be somewhat good news.

* Brendan Ryan had a fantastic game, looking sharp in the field and making an absolutely tremendous baserunning play when he scored from second on a wild pitch. Yes he was 0-for-3, but his walk turned out to be pretty big in the winning rally. I am consistently impressed with Ryan as a defender.

* Waino and Santana tomorrow at a sold out Tradition Field in St. Lucie. Should be fun. If Gonzalez doesn’t play, take that as a definite negative sign on his status. Though I definitely get the impression that if it’s Gonzalez vs. Barton, then Barton probably wins out.

* Speaking of Gonzalez, very interesting exchange yesterday. The team has been saying all along that Juan is willing to go to Memphis if need be. But Juan hadn’t actually said that. So Joe Strauss asked him that very question, point-blank, yesterday. Would you be willing to go to Memphis? And Juan didn’t answer it. Here’s his response: "I don’t talk about tomorrow what will happen. We’re talking in the moment. Right now I’m here."

-M, listening to a little Dead Milkmen (I like you, Stuart!) and already missing the Mrs., who headed north today.

Lohse throwing at 10

Listed on today’s schedule, Kyle Lohse to throw a bullpen at 10 am ET.

-M.

Lohse physical

Here’s what I was just told –

Lohse will in fact be down here for a physical, likely tomorrow. A deal, I was told, is NOT done at this point, which is odd, but that’s the info I got. Also not sure whether he’ll throw for them too, or if it’s just a physical. More as I get it…

-M.

Thursday camp tidbits

* The lineup looked a lot like what we’ll probably see in the second game of the season (not Opening Day, since the Rockies will be going with a lefty). TLR asserted that part of why Duncan hit second was so that he could get him his ABs and get him out of the game. However, I really like Duncan in the spot — he has the power TLR likes, as well as the ability to get on base. Better him there and Ankiel down lower in the order.

* Mark McCormick pitched for Double-A Springfield today. I wasn’t able to get out and watch him, but the estimable Derrick Goold said he was very impressive and was lighting up the gun pretty well. I hope to have some more detailed info from farm-system folks later today.

* In talking about Ankiel and selectivity, TLR had the following quote this morning:

"You know, that buzzword, on-base percentage, working the count, all this kind of stuff, that can be very confusing to a hitter. They think that the way that you win is to go up there and take a lot of pitches. So you make a bunch of outs, but you see five or six pitches. Nothing happens offensively."

Ultimately I think his main thought is that you don’t want to change a selective hitter, but man, I’d love to see Rick take a few more walks. TLR agreed that Ank’s walk/K ratio will probably improve with experience and learning the strike zone better, but he doesn’t want them to tell Rick to be more patient/selective.

* Peter Gammons’ ringtone is "Gimme Shelter" by the Stones. Knew I liked that guy.

-M.

TJ still sidelined; Gonzalez ailing — UPDATED

Update — Juan Gonzalez is also sidelined. He’s dealing with a mild left abdominal strain. He was originally supposed to be in yesterday’s lineup, according to TLR, but was scratched. He’s day-to-day, according to Barry Weinberg. Story to follow.

Just talked to Tyler Johnson, and he’s going to remain shut down for another week. He said there’s still some discomfort in his shoulder, so they’re going to take it easy and re-evaluate in a week. Johnson met with the medical staff yesterday, as was the plan when they first shut him down.

Story to follow on the site.

In other news, the lineup today is pretty much the Day 2 lineup. I would say Opening Day, but they’re facing a lefty on Opening Day. This is the lineup:

1. Schumaker RF
2. Duncan LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ankiel CF
5. Glaus 3B
6. Kennedy 2B
7. Molina C
8. Looper P
9. Izturis SS

-M.

Tuesday camp tidbits

Notes and bits from today at the yard:

* Chris Duncan got a couple of at-bats and TLR said he came through it fine. Still not certain whether he’ll play tomorrow, or if they’ll take it easy and give him a day before sending him back out there.

* Clayton Mortensen will in fact be Friday’s starter at Vero Beach.

* Up and down game for Rasmus. He had a couple of nice ABs, but also a bad K with the bases loaded in the ninth and misplayed a ball in the first.

Plenty of stuff on the site today, and one more story to come, so please do check it out.
-M.

Tuesday morning update — UPDATED

* One addition to this morning’s updates: Three cuts. Blake Hawksworth and Mark Worrell were optioned to the Minors, and John Wasdin was re-assigned to Minor League camp.

* Chris Duncan is back in the lineup, playing first base.

* Anthony Reyes is feeling better and will start tomorrow, taking the rotation spot that was Joel Pineiro’s. Still no word on Pineiro; hope to know more soon.

* Intrasquad game scheduled for this morning, with Thompson, Parisi and Springer all to pitch.

* Today’s lineup vs. BAL:
1. Schumaker LF
2. Izturis SS
3. Rasmus CF
4. Ankiel RF
5. D.Jimenez 3B
6. Duncan 1B
7. Molina C
8. Wellemeyer P
9. Kennedy 2B

-M.

Roster projection, fourth guess

Starting tomorrow, I get my annual Spring Training breather, so you won’t hear anything from me till Tuesday (say, that sounds like a good name for a band!). Hooray for Mrs. Dude coming south!

Here’s my latest guess for the roster:

Starting pitchers (5)
Adam Wainwright
Joel Pineiro
Braden Looper
Anthony Reyes
Todd Wellemeyer

Relief pitchers (7)
Jason Isringhausen
Russ Springer
Ryan Franklin
Brad Thompson
Kyle McClellan (this was by far the single hardest spot to call)
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
Juan Gonzalez

Stock rising: Joe Mather, McClellan, Schumaker, Villone, Ryan
Stock falling:
Kennedy, Reyes, Gonzalez

Last names on: McClellan, Ryan, Gonzalez
First names off:
Mike Parisi, Kelvin Jimenez, Mather, Colby Rasmus

-M.

Thursday camp tidbits – UPDATED

* Stories coming later today on the site: a look at the bullpen in the wake of TJ being hurt and one of the long guys being in the picture, and something on Izzy’s outing.


* Ryan Ludwick has been cleared by the training staff and says he feels fine after being hit on the helmet by a pitch last night. However, TLR held him out today as a precaution just the same.

* Gabe Johnson and Bryan Anderson were re-assigned to Minor League camp this morning.

* Sidney Ponson just arrived and will throw on Field 1 in 20 minutes or so. Sir Sid actually looked in better shape than he ever was in ’06, and he hit 94 mph. I don’t think he’s going to sign with STL — just don’t think the team is that interested. But I expect someone will give him a look.

* Nearly every position player will be making the trip up to Orlando and staying for both games against the Braves.

* Amaury Marti is back in the lineup. Basically, in TLR’s explanation, he’s done well in camp so far, he got two hits last night, so he’s rewarded with another start.

-M.

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