It’s unwise to put too much stock into Spring Training stats, with one notable exception. In Cardinals camp, appearances, innings and at-bats can tell you an awful lot.
Fernando Salas made his fifth appearance of the Grapefruit League season on Thursday, and once again he pitched well. It may have been his best showing to date, as the right-hander struck out three in two shutout innings.
He’s caught the attention of pitching coach Dave Duncan.
“You know why guys get a chance to pitch?” Duncan asked when Salas’ name was brought up. “Because they get people out. When they get people out, if the opportunity is there and there’s a choice to be made, the guy that’s going to be chosen is the guy that’s getting the results.”
So Salas keeps getting to pitch.
He’s still something of a long shot. Several spots in the Cardinals bullpen look relatively settled: closer Ryan Franklin, right-handers Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs and lefties Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. Blake Hawksworth’s spot as the long man appears relatively secure.
That still leaves one spot, though, and it’s likely a spot for a right-hander who pitches in short stints. Salas could be that pitcher.
“He’s got a chance,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Said Duncan: “He’s got a two-seam fastball. He’s got a four-seam fastball. He’s got a nice little changeup. He’s got an inconsistent breaking ball. I’d like to see his breaking ball improve. He throws 90, 91 miles an hour. He’s not somebody who’s just out there. He’s got some weapons. I like him.”
(Photo by Danny Wild/MLB.com)