May 2009

Carp against the Cubs?

A Chris Carpenter start within the next four days is looking increasingly likely, thanks to Friday night’s rainout.

The Cardinals originally thought they wouldn’t need a fifth starter until the end of next week, because they had an off day coming on Monday. That would have allowed Carpenter to have another high-intensity throw of some sort on Tuesday, then pitch in a game perhaps Saturday against Kansas City.

The rainout pretty much changed all of that, though. Or, more specifically, the make-up game on Monday changed all of that. Now the Cardinals need to find a fifth starter no later than Wednesday.

One way that can happen is for Carpenter to pitch Wednesday. And it’s probably the least disruptive way. Joel Pineiro could go Monday, on his regular fifth day. Kyle Lohse could go Tuesday, three days after the rainout, making the rainout night in effect a bullpen session — since a pitcher usually pitches in a game three days after his bullpen. Then Carpenter could throw a normal between-starts bullpen tomorrow, and pitch against Chicago on Wednesday.

That would allow Carpenter a much more normal routine, a five-day cycle after his heavy workout yesterday.

“It’s more artificial going the way we were going, and he feels good, so he is definitely one of the guys who could fit in the mix for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,” La Russa said.

Still, they’re not committing to anything just yet. A few things are in play. One is they want to be sure that Lohse came through the weirdness of last night OK. They’ll have a better read on that tomorrow. Another is how all of these permutations affect future series — specifically the May 25-27 series at Miller Park.

“You’ve got to look at everything,” La Russa said. “You’ve got to look at Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, all three. You’ve got a pitcher today and you’ve got a pitcher tomorrow. The rest of it, you’ve got to hold open.”


Game rescheduled for Monday

Tonight’s rained-out game has been rescheduled for this Monday night, May 18, at 7:15 p.m. CT.

Fans holding tickets for tonight’s game should use those tickets on Monday.


Friday tidbits: Carp throws

Lots of stuff to get to today. And let’s hope we get to a game — skies are pretty threatening, and the radar looks absolutely awful.

* Chris Carpenter threw four simulated innings in the bullpen this afternoon. He’ll pitch again on Tuesday — likely a normal bullpen session. Then his next mound work would likely be Friday or Saturday of next week. And, yes, that could very well be in a Major League game at Busch Stadium.

* Mitchell Boggs was optioned to Triple-A today, and Brendan Ryan was reinstated from the DL.

* The Cardinals announced their rotation for next week’s series against the Cubs. It will be Pineiro on Tuesday, Lohse on Wednesday and Wainwright on Thursday. That leaves Wellemeyer to go either Friday or Saturday against Kansas City, and the other of those two days open — quite possibly for Carpenter.

* Khalil Greene gets another day off today, with Tyler Greene starting at shortstop. TLR had some pretty interesting things to say about K.Greene today. Asked if shortstop had become a “competitive situation” or if that was putting it too strongly, La Russa did not unequivocally say that K.Greene is his shortstop.

“The way that I look at the shortstop position is that Khalil has everything that you look for to be the everyday player there, when he’s himself,” La Russa said. “When he struggles, you don’t want to get him buried so much that he can’t get back out of it. you have alternatives. If you don’t have alternatives, sometimes you’re forced. But we have a couple now, with Brendan back, Tyler, Barden. Fit him in here and there and try to get him going.”

* Double-A right-hander Kenny Maiques was suspended 50 games for testing positive for “a drug of abuse.” Maiques was at one time one of the most exciting arms in the system, but he’s struggled mightily this year.

Today’s playlist features some nostalgia. I drove through the campus of Washington U. today, where it’s graduation weekend. So I spent a bit of time thinking back to my own graduation, back in 1996. Thus, a set of songs from that year:

Oasis, “Champagne Supernova”
Tracy Bonham, “Mother Mother”
Underworld, “Born Slippy”
Pearl Jam, “Present Tense”
Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences”


Call for submissions!

I will be running a new Inbox (the artist formerly known as the Mailbag) on Monday. If you want to get a question in, submit it now using the link below. If you send an email directly, without using that link, I implore you to include the word “Mailbag” in the subject header. Otherwise it won’t make it in. If it doesn’t have that header, I assume it’s not for inclusion.

E-mail a question about the Cardinals


Thursday afternoon tidbits: Lohse feeling fine

It’s really a lovely evening here in Pittsburgh, which is a pleasant surprise after the afternoon was marked by dark, stormy-looking clouds. It appears that for the first time in 2009, the Cardinals will actually play the last scheduled game of a road trip (hi, Tunno!).

Here are the tidbits:

* Kyle Lohse said he’s doing just fine, and that nearly all of his various maladies are no longer bothering him. The only one that’s still an issue, he said, is that his left elbow is still a bit sore. But he threw a normal bullpen session this week and is on track for tomorrow’s game.

* TLR isn’t giving up what they’ll do with the rotation following Monday’s off day.

* Rick Ankiel is progressing well, according to the manager, and could get some at-bats in extended spring training games this weekend.

* As for the lineup, I asked TLR why he likes Shane Robinson in the 2 spot, and this was the answer: “He runs well. A lot of times he hits the ball from left-center over, which can give you first and third. He shoots that hole pretty well. Not going to say anything about the size of his target. I think he fits that spot pretty well. I thought yesterday he took some good whacks.”

There’s another factor as well, though: if, say, Rasmus hits second, that moves Robinson down to somewhere like the 6 spot. And TLR feels that Rasmus is a much better fit to hit sixth than Robinson. So it’s as much about that, it seems, as about who hits second.

* Brendan Ryan went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his second rehab game at Memphis last night.

No playlist for the moment, because this is already late getting out…


Wednesday lineup

Here’s the lineup on an overcast day in Pittsburgh.

Vs RHP Ross Ohlendorf:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Robinson RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Duncan LF
5. Molina C
6. Rasmus CF
7. K. Greene SS
8. Thurston 3B
9. Pineiro P


Ludwick to DL, Stavinoha up

The Cardinals announced that Ryan Ludwick’s right hamstring strain will in fact send him to the 15-day disabled list. They are recalling Nick Stavinoha from Triple-A Memphis to take Ludwick’s roster spot.

In 30 games for Memphis this season, Stavinoha is batting .264 with a .341 on-base percentage, a .427 slugging percentage, four home runs and 25 RBIs. He’s been hot lately, going 13-for-38 with five extra-base hits in his past nine games.

Stavinoha has played almost exclusively at first base this year, with one appearance at catcher. He was an outfielder for most of his professional career.


Ludwick injures hamstring

PITTSBURGH —  Cardinals outfielder Ryan Ludwick was removed from Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates due to a strained right hamstring.

In the bottom of the second inning, Pittsburgh’s Nyjer Morgan hit a deep fly ball to right center field. Ludwick gave chase but came up just short, and Morgan motored all the way around for a triple. Before Todd Wellemeyer could throw his next pitch, head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg and manager Tony La Russa came out to check on Ludwick.

The 2008 All-Star walked around a good bit before it was determined that he would not stay in the game. To replace Ludwick, Colby Rasmus entered the game in center field and Shane Robinson shifted from center to right.

Thursday afternoon tidbits: Ryan pushed back

A few notes before I shut down and take another weekend off. Resting up at home for the next four days, then back on for the series in Pittsburgh.

* Brendan Ryan was initially slated to begin a rehab assignment at Class A Quad Cities on Friday. However, he’s not quite fully recovered from a left hamstring strain, so they’re going to hold off a little bit.

“It’s crazy to send him out there to play under control because it won’t happen,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Ryan didn’t seem particularly discouraged. He rated himself at about 90 percent, and the expectation is that he’ll be good to go on a rehab on Monday or Tuesday. If it’s Tuesday, he’d likely go to Memphis, which begins a homestand on Tuesday.

“We’re just going off how I feel,” Ryan said. “I’m not at 100 percent yet. I’m about 90 percent, so there’s no reason to rush anything. We were under the assumption that that was going to work out and that was going to be the deal. But once I ran the bases, the field was a little bit wet, and you’ve got to be ready for anything. I just said I can’t go.”

* Albert Pujols was definitely sore after being hit in the left side of his back by a Ross Ohlendorf pitch, but said he didn’t expect to miss any time.

* Today was simply a day off for Yadier Molina. No injury or anything.

* I’m still sorting out what I and we know and what I think about Manny Ramirez, so if I weigh in, it’ll be at a later time/date.

Thursday’s playlist:
Bruce Springsteen: “She’s the One”
Better Than Ezra: “Desperately Wanting”
R.E.M.: “Crush With Eyeliner”
Cure: “Lovecats”
Depeche Mode: “Higher Love”


Wednesday evening tidbits: Carp closer to the mound

After a blah day in StL, the evening is looking quite lovely, I’m pleased to report. Today’s tidbits:

* Chris Carpenter threw long toss from a greater distance today and plans to throw off of a mound on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. It’s still undetermined whether he will go on a rehab assignment, and will hinge at least partly on how things go once he gets on the mound.

* Rick Ankiel remains unavailable but on the active roster. TLR said he’s “less sore in some places and more sore in others.” They still have not ruled out a DL stint but it’s clear they’d love to be able to avoid it. He did not take BP on the field today.

* Khalil Greene returns to the lineup, and TLR says he does not believe there are any restrictions on Greene.

* Joe Thurston gets the start at 2B over Skip Schumaker. Schumaker will start the next four games. Pirates starter Zach Duke has a reverse platoon split this year, once once Schumaker was out of the lineup, Thurston got the call instead of Tyler Greene to start at 2B.

* The pitcher is back to the 8th spot for today. The official explanation was that with Pujols’ history of success against the Pirates, having the extra hitter in front of him might reduce the chances he gets pitched around all the time.

* In case anyone was wondering, the emergency third catcher would likely be either Brian Barden or Thurston — not Jason Motte.

Today’s playlist:
Modest Mouse: “Bury Me With It”
Living Colour: “Ignorance Is Bliss” (been on a huge kick of these guys lately)
Smashing Pumpkins: “Cherub Rock”
Revenge: “Pineapple Face”
Nine Inch Nails: “Letting You”