JUPITER, Fla. — Kyle McClellan will pitch in relief for the Cardinals in 2010, clearing the way for Jaime Garcia to be the club’s fifth starter.
Manager Tony La Russa made the announcement of McClellan’s status on Monday morning after informing the pitcher that his quest to move from the bullpen to the starting rotation has been deferred once again. Garcia, who is scheduled to start for the Cardinals on Monday afternoon against Minnesota, had not been officially notified of his status as of Monday morning.
“We’re assuming he’s going to pitch good,” La Russa said. “And if he pitches good, then [it’s a done deal]. … But he hasn’t been told because it’s not official.”
The other half, however, is finalized. McClellan, who has pitched in relief for St. Louis the past two years, will do so again in 2010. He had hoped to win a starting job, and he pitched very well, but will instead go back to the bullpen. He may serve as the primary setup man to closer Ryan Franklin.
“He’s had a great spring, but that’s where we need him.”
Garcia pitched the best of the three candidates — Rich Hill was also a contender — and that was certainly one factor in the decision on McClellan. But the Cardinals also remain short on right-handed bullpen depth, which also tipped the scales somewhat.
“Those are the factors that have come into play,” La Russa said. “Jaime’s done a good job, really good. Without that good job, then we’d still be looking for something.”