February 2009

Monday camp tidbits: Ryan is sore

Games are getting closer and closer, and that’s good news. At some point all of us are ready for that changeover, as opposed to workouts every day. Here are today’s tidbits:

* Brendan Ryan has a sore right wrist, which he’s been told is tendinitis. He expects to miss a few days, and said he probably won’t play in a game until at least Friday. It’s not a recurrence of the wrist injury which sidelined him for so much of 2006, but Ryan nonetheless said, “I just have bad wrists, I guess.”

* Ryan participated in drills, however. He’s just prevented from hitting. Khalil Greene is dealing with a little bit of shoulder soreness, which he and the club insist is really no problem at all, and Greene participated fully today. David Freese has some discomfort in the area of his Achilles’ tendon, but like Greene is doing just about everything.

* Today’s entry in the nothing-in-Cardinals-camp-is-accidental file… Two infield groups worked out today. In one, Joe Mather, Freese, Brian Barden, K.Greene, Skip Schumaker, Ryan, Albert Pujols and Chris Duncan. In the other, Brett Wallace, Tyler Greene, Joe Thurston, Jarrett Hoffpauir and Allen Craig. Thinking you can draw your own conclusions there.

* Josh Kinney was not sharp today, but neither he nor Dave Duncan expressed much concern. Kinney had trouble getting his timing down.

* Adam Wainwright on the other hand was outstanding in his live BP session, against Pujols and Duncan.

* TLR said it is not a slam dunk that Colby Rasmus would always be the CF if he and Rick Ankiel are in the same OF.

* Clayton Mortensen took a shot off his right hip during batting practice (not live) today, hit by Rasmus.

Today’s playlist:
Junior Boys, “In the Morning”
Camouflage, “Motif Sky”
Postal Service, “Nothing Better”
Blaqk Audio, “Bitter for Sweet”
Cold War Kids, “Against Privacy”


Sunday camp tidbits: Lohse looks better

Hello from a lovely Sunday in Jupiter…

* Kyle Lohse threw live BP today and looked much better than in his previous session. Lohse concentrated simply on throwing strikes his last time out; this time he said it was more game-oriented. And it showed. He didn’t give up much hard contact and had a nice session. He’ll throw a bullpen on Tuesday then start Thursday against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale.

* Blake Hawksworth starts Wednesday’s Grapefruit League opener against Florida, followed by Lohse, Todd Wellemeyer on Friday at the Mets, Chris Carpenter on Saturday at home against Washington, Joel Pineiro on Sunday 3/1 “at” Florida, and Adam Wainwright on Monday, 3/2 against the Rays.

* Brett Wallace took a pitch in the back from Katsuhiko Maekawa this afternoon, but appeared to suffer no real ill effects.

* On Monday and perhaps Tuesday, the Cardinals will play “coaches games,” another term for intrasquad competition. Coaches throw BP when the Cards do scrimmages, rather than having pitchers pitch. Monday’s will take place within the stadium.

* Bill Parcells joined Ron Wolf and Bruce Hornsby among those who have dropped by camp to visit TLR.

* Talked with Brian Barton at some length today about his situation, which will lead to a feature later on this afternoon. Clearly his position is quite a bit different than it was a year ago, for a lot of reasons.

* Chris Perez’s live BP session started pretty shaky again, but as it went on he seemed to find his groove more.

Today’s playlist:
Flight of the Conchords: “Robots”
Chromeo: “Needy Girl”
Beck: “Gamma Ray”
Mike Doughty: “I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress”
Drive-By Truckers: “Home Field Advantage”


Saturday Spring Training photos

Here’s another round of photos. A lot of them are from Carpenter’s live batting practice session today. The fellow in the t-shirt in the photo with TLR is Bruce Hornsby. Besides Carpenter, the other pitcher photos are one of Blake Hawksworth and then two of Clayton Mortensen. And, yes, that’s Dave Duncan standing in the batters box while a pitcher works on pitchouts.

20090221 schumaker cage 2.jpg20090221 schumaker cage.jpg20090221 pujols cage 2.jpg
20090221 pujols cage.jpg20090221 mortensen 2.jpg20090221 mortensen.jpg20090221 la russa schoendienst.jpg20090221 hornsby la russa.jpg20090221 hawksworth.jpg20090221 dunc stands in.jpg20090221 carpenter jay.jpg20090221 carpenter 3.jpg20090221 carpenter 2.jpg20090221 carpenter 1.jpg20090221 ankiel rasmus.jpg20090221 ankiel.jpg

Saturday camp tidbits: Carp faces hitters

It’s another very nice day down here. Evidently it’s much more pleasant on Florida’s east coast than over on the west side of the state. So, you know, that’s excellent.

* Chris Carpenter faced a group of hitters that included Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Colby Rasmus. His stuff was very, very good — plenty of movement, and the hitters were shaking their heads more than once. His location was not as good, though certainly not awful, and it got better as he went along.

* Ryan Ludwick still does not expect to participate in the World Baseball Classic, since it’s still his understanding that he would not be a starter for Team USA. Ludwick feels that if he wouldn’t be getting regular at-bats, he needs to be in Cardinals camp. It’s the same thing he said last month, but with some recent defections, it was worth asking whether anything had changed. It has not.

* Mitchell Boggs threw a bullpen session today and reported he felt fine. Matt Scherer is throwing long toss and hopes to be on a mound on Wednesday.

* For those who were wondering, I was told today that the Cardinals were never seriously in the hunt for Orlando Hudson, who signed with the Dodgers.

* Other impressions from live BP today: Blake Hawksworth had another very impressive session, Clayton Mortensen was very solid and Fernando Salas was a bit iffy to my eyes.

* One other note: I’ll have another photo gallery coming this afternoon.

Today’s playlist:
Duran Duran: “New Religion”
Happy Mondays: “Step On”
The The: “Uncertain Smile”
Cure: “Cut Here”
Shiny Toy Guns: “Le Disko”


Friday camp tidbits: Raz in the nine spot?

Hello from breezy and cool (for Florida) Jupiter.

* TLR was asked about the possibility of Colby Rasmus being the No. 9 hitter, and he was open to it. If Schumaker is on the roster as the 2B man, then there’s not really an obvious No. 9 hitter — unless somebody like Brendan Ryan or Joe Thurston wins the 3B job.

* Adam Wainwright threw live BP to a group that included Albert Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Yadier Molina, Khalil Greene and Joe Mather. And he looked very good to my eye. Fastball down to both sides of the plate, good breaking ball, and very little hard contact.

* Also throwing live today: Wellemeyer, Trever Miller, Motte, Kinney, among others.

* Chris Carpenter is scheduled to face hitters for the first time tomorrow, so obviously that’ll be a little bit of a frenzy. I’m looking forward to seeing it; I’ve liked what I’ve seen from him so far.

* Reggie Smith, the last Cardinal to hit a HR in an All-Star Game (1974), dropped by camp as a representative of a bat company today.

Today’s playlist:
Radiohead: “Paranoid Android”
Living Colour, “This is the Life”
Soundgarden: “Slaves and Bulldozers”
Smashing Pumpkins: “Starla”
Jeff Buckley: “Eternal Life”


Thursday Spring Training photos

So… this is a little bit of flying blind, because I haven’t used this interface before. But here’s an attempt to show you some photos I took today on the Roger Dean Stadium back fields. Click on the thumbnail to get a larger version.

090219 Carpenter bullpen1.JPG090219 Ankiel Duncan.JPG

090219 Carpenter bullpen3.JPG090219 Carpenter bullpen2.JPG
090219 Mason stands in.JPG090219 Lohse mound.JPG090219 La Russa fungo.JPG090219 KGreene soft toss.JPG090219 Duncan Raz TLR Pujols.JPG090219 Duncan Perez.JPG
090219 McClellan bullpen2.JPG090219 McClellan bullpen1.JPG
090219 Vuch Mozeliak.JPG090219 Todd mound.JPG090219 Schumaker at 2B2.JPG090219 Schumaker at 2B1.JPG090219 Schoendienst Wolf.JPG090219 Ryan at SS1.JPG090219 Rasmus cage2.JPG090219 Pujols swing.JPG090219 Pujols soft toss.JPG090219 Pujols Molina.JPG090219 Pujols cage2.JPG

090219 Mather Schu McKay.JPG

090219 Mozeliak Duncan.JPG

Thursday camp tidbits: Pineiro is in (UPDATED)

Another gorgeous day down here. We’ve been very, very fortunate with the weather thus far. Today also brought the most compelling on-field action to date, as several projected members of the Major League pitching staff threw live batting practice to Cardinals hitters.

On to the tidbits…

* TLR said that Joel Pineiro is one of the five starting pitchers. Not necessarily earth-shattering news, but for those who thought it might be more of an open competition, it doesn’t sound like that will be the case. Pineiro would have to falter significantly, and somebody else really thrive, for the starting five to change.

* Skip Schumaker was hit in the stomach by a chopper off the bat of Joe Mather during live BP. He was OK, but it was scary for a moment — and no doubt painful for Schumaker.

* Mitchell Boggs did NOT throw today, as many of us expected. We’ve been told maybe tomorrow, and as of this moment I don’t know whether it was setback or miscommunication. Will follow up on that. UPDATE: I talked to Boggs a few minutes ago, and he said he’s coming along just fine. He’s long-tossing and hopes to get on a mound tomorrow or Saturday. There has not been a setback.

* TLR said that Dave Duncan had some very complimentary things to say about Blake Hawksworth’s throw yesterday. And to my eye, Hawksworth looked very good in that live BP session. As one front office member noted, “the clock is ticking” on Hawksworth, once considered one of the best prospects in the organization.

* Among those who threw live BP today: Joel Pineiro (looked pretty good), Kyle Lohse (gave up a good bit of hard contact), Chris Perez (looked erratic), Kyle McClellan (pretty sharp), and Jess Todd (looked quite good). From the “nothing-in-Cardinals-camp-is-an-accident” file: Albert Pujols was one of the hitters in the group that faced Pineiro.

* They filmed the new round of “Play Like a Cardinal” TV spots today. Not sure who all was involved or what all of the spots will be like, but one involved several of the outfielders, including Ryan Ludwick. They were being filmed inside the stadium this morning and afternoon. Additionally, tomorrow is photo day.

* Come back this afternoon for a photo gallery. I took a ton of pictures today, I’d guess 40 or so, and I’ll be posting them later today.

Today’s playlist:
Radiohead: “Just”
Garbage: “When I Grow Up”
The Ting Tings: “Shut Up and Let Me Go”
Nine Inch Nails: “Discipline”
U2: “Get On Your Boots”


Wednesday morning camp tidbits: Pineiro peeved

OK, this is a little more like it, schedule-wise and in terms of connectivity. Starting to get into the routine.

* As already reported here, Joel Pineiro was extremely displeased at Jose Oquendo’s decision not to include him in Team Puerto Rico’s three-man rotation for the World Baseball Classic. Pineiro emphasized that he had no beef with the pitchers selected in his place, Jonathan Sanchez and Ian Snell, but Oquendo is clearly not his favorite person right now. Oquendo and TLR both downplayed it, and said they’re confident that as the spring and season move on, there won’t be a problem.

* Live batting practice starts today, and one of the more intriguing sessions will be that of youngster Francisco Samuel. He’ll face Brian Barden, Tyler Greene, Brendan Ryan and Joe Thurston. Samuel has a smooth, easy velocity, but some command issues.

* Some of the big league starters begin throwing live BP tomorrow.

* Not a lot else to report at this moment, but we’ll see how the day progresses.


Pineiro will skip Classic

A clearly distressed Joel Pineiro announced on Wednesday
morning that he will not participate in the World Baseball Classic in 2009.


Jose Oquendo, the manager of the Puerto Rican team as well
as the Cardinals’ third-base coach, informed Pineiro that the right-hander
would not be part of his three-man starting rotation in the upcoming event. As
a result, Pineiro chose not to play, staying back with the Cardinals to build
up as a starter rather than pitching out of the bullpen for his homeland.


“Everybody knows that’s not my role,” Pineiro
said. “I’m very disappointed, very heartbroken. I felt disrespected.
Everybody knows it’s only been two pitchers in Puerto Rico the past 8-10 years,
consistent starters, which is Javier Vazquez and myself. To hear that from him,
it was such a setback and I’m very disappointed.”


Pineiro referred to his 2006 experience in the Classic as
one of the best of his career and said he had been extremely excited to pitch
again in 2009 — going so far as to have purchased tickets for his family.
However, he was passed over in favor of Vazquez, Ian Snell and Jonathan

Long-overdue Tuesday camp tidbits: Full squad workouts begin

Greetings from Jupiter, where life got a lot better today for two major reasons. Arti Gras is officially over and we can get to and from the park MUCH more easily. And my aircard is working, so I can file even when the Wifi at RDS goes down (which is, um, a bit too often).

Which, BTW, explains why today’s tidbits are so long overdue. Couldn’t get online to put this up. I’m now coming to you from the couch in our condo, with some laundry in the dryer and a Family Guy repeat on TV. Living the dream, baby. Living the dream.

* Troy Glaus reported today and shed a little light on the sequence of events that led up to his shoulder surgery. He said the rehab has come well so far, though obviously there’s a long way to go. The story can be found here.

* Didn’t talk too long to Ryan Ludwick about his contract, but he was definitely pleased to have it done and relieved not to go to a hearing. It’s definitely interesting that Ludwick got a good bit more than the midpoint between the two figures. That’s unusual. Typically when it happens, it’s an indication that the club doesn’t feel its chances of winning a hearing are very good.

* We all got to watch a good bit of batting practice today, and it was nice to see something other than bullpen sessions going on out on the back fields. It should pick up even more soon.

* We had lengthy conversations with TLR about both the Skip Schumaker/2B thing and the bullpen. I don’t want to give too much away about either one because they’ll feature in big stories on the site for tomorrow morning (bullpen) and Thursday morning (Skip/2B). But a couple of nuggets… TLR and Dave Duncan both said they’d PREFER to have someone emerge as the 9th-inning guy, but they’re open to a mix-and-match scenario. And TLR is very serious about Schumaker at 2B. He said that even if they still had Kennedy, he’d want Schumaker competing for the 2B job this year. It may not work out, but it’s very, very real.

Today’s playlist consists of highlights from a very nice jog out on the exercise track behind the condos…

Shamen: “Move Any Mountain”
New Order: “Regret (New Order Mix)”
Soul Coughing: “Super Bon Bon”
Soundgarden: “Let Me Drown”
Pearl Jam: “Rearviewmirror”

The traffic on the blog has been really incredible since Spring Training started, so a big thanks to everybody for dropping by. HOPEFULLY, starting tomorrow I’ll get back to the midday updates that I prefer to have during the spring.