March 2009

Saturday tidbits: Picher in the 9 spot

* There’s at least one Cardinals blogger out there who may be sad today, because the pitcher is hitting ninth today. And it’s likely not to be just a one-day thing. Basically, TLR’s rationale is there’s no natural 9 hitter except Rasmus today, and he really wanted Rasmus in the 2 spot. There will be days this year when there’s no good fit for the 9 spot, and it sounds like on those days, the pitcher will move back to 9.

* David Freese is on the trip, starting at third base and has two hits today. He’s fielded one grounder and couldn’t grab one sharply-hit ball (no fault — it was a clean hit, tough play). It seems to me that his chances are getting better. The 3B issue is not over.

* Extra players on the trip: Freese, Shane Robinson (whom TLR spoke highly of today; likes his swing), Casey Rowlett, Colt Sedbrook, Sam Freeman, Tyler Norrick, Hyang-Nam Choi, Marco Gonzalez and Casey Mulligan.

Today’s playlist:
Depeche Mode, “Everything Counts”
Camouflage, “Love Is a Shield”
Electronic: “Feel Every Beat”
The Postal Service: “We Will Become Silhouettes”
LCD Soundsystem: “North American Scum”

-M.

Roster projection, third guess

Starting pitchers (5)
Adam Wainwright
Kyle Lohse
Todd Wellemeyer
Chris Carpenter
Joel Pineiro

Relief pitchers (7)
Ryan Franklin
Denny Reyes
Trever Miller
Kyle McClellan
Josh Kinney
Jason Motte
Brad Thompson

Catchers (2)
Yadier Molina
Jason LaRue

Infielders (7)
Albert Pujols
Skip Schumaker
Khalil Greene
Joe Mather
Brendan Ryan
Tyler Greene
Joe Thurston

Outfielders (4)
Rick Ankiel
Ryan Ludwick
Chris Duncan
Colby Rasmus

-M.

Friday camp tidbits: Perez throws

Greetings from Jupiter. I’m back on the beat after some time at the World Baseball Classic and, before that, a couple of days off.

* Chris Perez played catch from 90 feet today. He says he’s at “90-95″ percent and ready to go, but it sounds like they’ll be a little cautious with him. No game announced yet, and my guess is that it’s not this weekend.

* As of today, no more DH for the Cardinals this spring, except when they play on the road vs an AL team. Wainwright batting 8th, Rasmus 9th.

* David Freese has been cleared to play 3B for Memphis today. TLR acknowledged that he’s more on the radar than your average player in Minor League camp, but would not speculate on how close he might be to a possible return to big league camp, or even if there was any chance of that happening.

* FSN announced that it will have 100 Cardinals games in HD this year.

* Rick Ankiel, Joe Mather and Yadier Molina are among those getting the day off tomorrow rather than trekking to Viera.

How about some Philly music for today’s playlist:
The Roots, “The Seed”
Hall and Oates, “I Can’t Go For That” (OATES!)
The Spinners, “I’ll Be Around”
Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”
The O’Jays: “Love Train”

-M.

Cards content at the Classic

Hello from Dolphin Stadium, where at the moment it looks like a disappointing crowd for what should be an enjoyable USA-Puerto Rico elimination game in the World Baseball Classic. If you didn’t watch last night’s PR-Venezuela tilt, you missed an incredibly entertaining and compelling baseball game with high quality of play and a great atmosphere.

Anyway, here’s a little Cardinals content from my work down here in Dade County.

As a couple of other scribes and I walked back from press dining, we saw Tony La Russa and Joe Pettini. It’s a Cardinals off day today, so they made the trip down from Jupiter to Miami (or Miami Gardens, or Opa-Locka, or whatever exact municipality this is) to watch Jose Oquendo and Yadier Molina.

Did not get a chance to ask them their rooting interest between the home country and their teammates, but I’m guessing it’s an easy call — a USA win not only means the homeland advances, but it means that Oquendo and Molina are back in camp very soon.

Another tidbit from a very brief conversation (not an interview) — for the split-squad vs. the Orioles tomorrow, TLR will manage the team that goes to Fort Lauderdale (that’s not a surprise), while Pettini will manage the group that stays at home. Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter will both play in Jupiter.

-M, back on the beat on Thursday.

Wednesday tidbits: Duncan sore, Rasmus still out

This will be my last day of camp tidbits for a week. With the lovely Mrs. Dude in town, I get the next two days off, then I’ll be covering the World Baseball Classic in Miami. Hopefully blogging and tweeting from down there.

* Chris Duncan encountered some groin discomfort in yesterday’s game, which is why he was removed early. He was held out of today’s lineup as well.

* Colby Rasmus said his left hamstring is feeling fine and he expects to play tomorrow, but TLR held him out one more day today.

* Rasmus took live BP against Matt Scherer, who is on the mend following his elbow/forearm troubles.

* TLR acknowledged that ideally they prefer to have a long reliever, but that it’s not a necessity. Counted Brad Thompson and PJ Walters as the candidates for that job — said he doesn’t really think of McClellan as a viable long man.

* McClellan, however, will be stretched out until the neast week or 10 days of camp. Ryan Franklin will return to shorter, more frequent outings sooner than that. McClellan remains the primary safety-valve in case something happens to a starter for about another couple of weeks.

* For Friday’s split-squad, day-night doubleheader, TLR said that the Major League infielders will go to Fort Lauderdale while the Major League outfielders will stay back for the home game. McClellan starts the afternoon road game, while Joel Pineiro starts the evening home game.

* TLR on Josh Beckett and the Red Sox coming to town, and whether it’s good to have a marquee game like that at this point in camp: “I don’t think we’re at that point where we’re dragging. These guys have too much to play for, and we’ve had days off. But, you play Boston… They told me we’ll have 8000 people here tomorrow.”

* TLR doesn’t expect any cuts before the weekend, and it’s possible (but not likely) that they won’t do anything until after the split-squad games a week from today.

* And one more thing from the manager. He said that it’s definitely possible to go with seven infielders and four outfielders if Schumaker and Mather are both listed as infielders.

* A link for you: Cards Minor League right-hander David Kopp is blogging. His blog can be found at Cardinalsprospect.MLBlogs.com.

* And another link: I’ll be tweeting through today’s game, so follow me on Twitter.

Today’s playlist:
Depeche Mode: “Wrong” (loving this tune, just loving it)
The Airborne Toxic Event: “Sometime Around Midnight”
Franz Ferdinand: “Lucid Dreams”
U2: “Bad” (the live one from Wide Awake…)
White Town: “Your Woman”

-M.

Tuesday camp tidbits: Return of the regulars

It’s a glorious day in Jupiter, warm and sunny, and Mrs. Dude will be here tonight. So your faithful correspondent is in good spirits.

* Ryan Ludwick and Joe Mather are both back in the lineup, and Rick Ankiel is back to playing the outfield again. TLR said none of them is considered to be limited. However, Colby Rasmus has some hamstring soreness and is not in the lineup.

* Clayton Mortensen was on the schedule to throw live batting practice. Mortensen has been dealing with elbow discomfort.

* TLR decided to have a little fun with old friend and Tigers manager Jim Leyland. So he sent a lineup to Leyland with Lou Brock leading off and playing LF, Red Schoendienst at 2B, Musial in RF, McGwire at 1B, Edmonds in CF, Ken Boyer at 3B, Ted Simmons at C, Ozzie Smith at SS and Jeff Murphy as the DH. “Dizzy Gibson” was his pitcher.

* Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz is visiting camp today.

Today’s playlist:
Police: “Synchonicity II”
Los Campesinos!: “Ways to Make It Through the Wall”
Bloc Party: “Helicopter”
Against Me!: “Up the Cuts”
Chris Cornell: “Scream”

(BTW, anybody heard much of Los Campesinos!? I hear them periodically on XMU and really dig everything I’ve heard)

-M.

Ludwick, Glaus updates

Couple of updates after post-workout media availability…

* Troy Glaus has begun throwing and today swung a bat for the first time. He took about 20 swings off a tee. Glaus is still hoping to get in a game or two before Spring Training is over, but as he explained it, he has no idea whether that’s realistic or unrealistic.

* Ryan Ludwick downplayed his right oblique soreness. He said Dr. Paletta told him it might even be a stretch to call it a mild strain. Ludwick didn’t even feel anything “grab” — he just woke up sore the morning after taking a lot of swings.

-M.

Sunday camp tidbits: Ludwick, Mather out again

Hello, all — hope no one slept through anything important this morning. A cloudy morning has given way to sunshine, and it should be a nice one today.

* Ryan Ludwick (sore oblique) and Joe Mather (sick) are both out of the lineup again today, a decision made easier thanks to tomorrow’s off day. Rick Ankiel is back at DH, though TLR said he didn’t have a setback. They’re just being careful.

* Given that, here’s today’s lineup: 1.Schumaker 2B — 2.Ryan 3B — 3.Pujols 1B — 4.Ankiel DH — 5.Duncan LF — 6.K.Greene SS — 7.Thurston RF — 8.LaRue C — 9.Rasmus CF

* Cuts are expected to take place after today’s game. Minor League pitchers and catchers report tomorrow, so this is the first time they are really even able to cut anybody.

* Matt Scherer is throwing live batting practice today.

* New Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo is among the visitors to camp today, as are Bob Knight and Bill Parcells.

Today’s playlist is all Manchester:
Happy Mondays: “Kinky Afro”
Charlatans UK: “There’s No Other Way”
James: “Sit Down”
Inspiral Carpets: “This Is How it Feels”
Stone Roses: “Fools Gold”

-M.
Stone Roses: “

Saturday tidbits: Mather, Ludwick stay back

It’s a spectacular day in Kissimmee, and this is really a rather nice little facility. Glad I made the trip up.

* Ryan Ludwick has some soreness in an oblique muscle and stayed back at camp. TLR said he’s likely out tomorrow also.

* Joe Mather came in sick this morning and also stayed back in Jupiter. He’s day-to-day — if he feels well tomorrow, he could be back in.

* Thus, the lineup looks like this: 1.Schumaker 2B — 2.T.Greene 3B — 3.Pujols 1B — 4.Craig DH — 5.Ankiel CF — 6.Greene SS — 7.Duncan LF — 8.LaRue C — 9.Rasmus RF

Listened to E Street Radio all the way up here, so today’s playlist is all Springsteen:
“Badlands”
“No Surrender”
“Brilliant Disguise”
“Out in the Street”
“Mary’s Place”

-M.

Opening Day roster projection, second guess

Starting pitchers (5)
Adam Wainwright
Chris Carpenter
Kyle Lohse
Todd Wellemeyer
Joel Pineiro

Relief pitchers (7)
Ryan Franklin
Dennys Reyes
Trever Miller
Kyle McClellan
Chris Perez
Josh Kinney
Brad Thompson

Catchers (2)
Yadier Molina
Jason LaRue

Infielders (6)
Albert Pujols
Skip Schumaker
Khalil Greene
Joe Mather
Brendan Ryan
Tyler Greene

Outfielders (5)
Ryan Ludwick
Rick Ankiel
Chris Duncan
Colby Rasmus
Brian Barton

* Yep, only one change, and that’s the obvious one, bringing in D.Reyes. If anything, some of my opinions got stronger. It’s very clear to me that, barring a surprise, the Opening Day starting infield is set and Mather will go as an infielder. It’s looking a LOT like a four-man outfield rotation with Ludwick/Ankiel/Duncan/Rasmus all getting significant time. That means, again, that I could see an extra infielder over Barton, but I’m not expecting it.

* I still think they’re going to take a long man as the 12th guy, and the Reyes addition makes that a stronger opinion. Too many short relievers not to have an innings guy.

I’ll check in with y’all from Kissimmee tomorrow.
-M.

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