It’s starting to warm up today, and the sky is as perfectly blue as can be here at Roger Dean Stadium. It’s time for the spring home opener. Here are the tidbits:
* Brendan Ryan keeps moving forward, and he’s planning to take soft toss on Monday. The hope would be that a week after that, he could take batting practice, which would mean game at-bats no sooner than March 22. He’s still a ways off but moving forward.
Ryan and TLR were asked about the possibility of Ryan appearing as a defensive replacement or baserunner in a game sooner than that. Neither dismissed it out of hand, but it doesn’t seem very likely at this point.
* Allen Craig took live BP again today, and he seems very close to OK as he deals with a sore left quadriceps. But the team is going to be very cautious with him. It still sounds like he’ll sit out all weekend.
* Felipe Lopez, meanwhile, might make his debut on Sunday. The target had originally been Monday, but TLR sounded today like that could be bumped up a day.
* Mitchell Boggs makes his spring debut today, and the aim is for him to throw about 30 pitches. That’s a bit shorter than some of the starters have been throwing — some have already done 40 pitches in two simulated innings.
Boggs is not going to be kept exclusively short this spring. He’ll be stretched out some. But it remains evident that the most likely destination for him is the bullpen. I don’t expect he’ll be stretched out in the same way as even someone like Blake Hawksworth.
“He needs to pitch,” La Russa said. “He needs to work on his pitches.”
That means he won’t be going one-inning-only early in camp. But I expect his path will diverge from those of the starters sooner than some other guys’ will.
* One spot that remains open is for a swingman in the bullpen, like what Brad Thompson did in recent years: someone who can pitch long relief, take a spot start and do other duties as assigned. Hawksworth is one pitcher who may factor in that race, but there’s also something to be said for a left-hander in that job.
That may be where Rule 5 Draftee Ben Jukich fits in. A third tactical lefty wouldn’t make much sense for the Cardinals. But a left-hander who can go multiple innings, and make an occasional start, might have real value. Jaime Garcia, however, likely would not be that pitcher.
Letters to Cleo, “Veda Very Shining”
Material Issue, “Li’l Christine”
Dramarama, “Anything Anything”
R.E.M., “Living Well Is the Best Revenge”
Elvis Costello, “Radio Radio”