Thursday tidbits: And so it begins
Lots of tidbits today, and for some of you the best news of all is that today’s tidbits are a McGwire-free zone. It was another gorgeous day down here, unusually cool for the area (below 50 in the morning, mid-60s in the afternoon) but clear. Supposed to be warming up as the weekend goes on.
* Both TLR (to the group of us) and Mozeliak (to me in a chat this afternoon) reiterated that the Cardinals are not in any hurry to add an infielder or anything else. They’re aware that Brendan Ryan’s injury is something that could create some complications, but there will be no overreaction.
Reports continue to swirl that the Cardinals are “pursuing” Felipe Lopez, but let’s be realistic here. It’s Feb. 18. If they were really pursuing him that hard, they’d likely have signed him. More probable is that they’re keeping the lines of communication open in case the fit suddenly becomes better.
Here’s TLR on the situation: “I think we’re doing the things to protect ourselves. I don’t think you go out there and trade for an everyday shortstop. We expect him to come back, and we cover until he comes back. I think that’s one of the things we’ve talked about, some protection, infield, outfield.”
Meanwhile, Mozeliak said that he expected any move the Cardinals made would likely take place late in camp. He also said he had no issues with Ryan waiting until next week to arrive.
“He’s coming on his report date,” Mozeliak said. “We didn’t feel like we needed to change flights or anything like that. there’s not a whole lot he could have done today, tomorrow, this weekend.”
* The turnout continues to be excellent. Colby Rasmus is now in camp. That means that it’s entirely possible that seven of the nine players in the Opening Day lineup are already here. If Ryan is out, I’d guess that Tyler Greene will start. So all of the following players are currently in camp and could start on April 5 in Cincinnati: Yadier Molina, Skip Schumaker, Greene, David Freese, Rasmus, Ryan Ludwick and either Adam Wainwright or Chris Carpenter.
* Among the pitchers and catchers, the only one not present is P.J. Walters, who is tending to the health of his newborn baby. I have not heard anything recently about how the child is doing, but I certainly wish the whole family well.
* La Russa said that every pitcher who is in camp is healthy and ready to go on the full, normal program.
* One interesting player this spring, and a guy I’ve liked for a long time, is Joe Mather. If Mather is healthy and effective, he’ll have every chance to make the team. He can play some third and first and both corner outfield spots. But he’s played some middle infield very early in his career, and TLR said Thursday that he considers Mather a viable center field option.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I think just about anywhere. This guy is a player.”
It’s a funny twist. A year ago, Mather’s best chance to make the team appeared to be moving from the outfield to third base. This year, his ability to play center, as a right-handed batter, might just be his ticket onto the roster.
* Pitchers and catchers underwent physicals and drug tests this morning, so they started their workout later than normal. Tomorrow’s workout should be closer to 9 a.m. ET.
Today’s playlist is all Nirvana because, well, I’m on a Nirvana kick:
“Heart Shaped Box”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”