Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Tuesday that the Cardinals’ rotation for the coming days has been altered.
Kyle McClellan, who had been slated to pitch on Thursday against Nationals in Jupiter, will instead be pushed back to Saturday’s home game against the Astros. Brandon Dickson, who had been scheduled to pitch in relief tomorrow, will now start that Thursday home game.
Saturday, of course, was originally Adam Wainwright’s spot.
The moves make even more abundantly clear that McClellan is the favorite to win the team’s fifth-starter job. Duncan made it no secret that he didn’t want McClellan starting on the same day as Jaime Garcia, because in a couple of weeks they wouldn’t both be able to get all their work on the same day.
Additionally, the adjustments get Dickson and Lance Lynn off of the same day. The two right-handers are likely the leading candidates to step in if McClellan should falter — or if a reliever were to suffer a significant injury, requiring McClellan to return to his relief role.
An already trying spring for the Cardinals took another distressing turn on Tuesday when former two pitchers were removed from the team’s Grapefruit League game against the Marlins due to injuries.
Former Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter was pulled in the third inning due to a strained left hamstring, while reliever Mitchell Boggs came out an inning later with a lower back strain.
Carpenter had breezed through 2 2/3 innings with scarcely a hiccup before he walked Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan. After the final pitch of Coghlan’s plate appearance, Carpenter walked off the mound and head athletic trainer Greg Hauck came out to check on him. With virtually no delay, Carpenter headed for the dugout.
Boggs came in to replace Carpenter and received an extended warm-up time because of the injury. Boggs struck out Donnie Murphy to end the inning. Carpenter was tended to in the dugout for the remainder of the inning, then left for the Cardinals’ clubhouse with Hauck.
With one out in the fourth and an 0-2 count to John Buck, Boggs pulled up in distress, reaching for his lower back. He was also removed without throwing another pitch, replaced by left-hander Brian Tallet.
Already this spring, the Cardinals have lost co-ace Adam Wainwright to season-ending elbow injury and infielder Nick Punto for 2-3 months due to a sports hernia. Drew Baur, one of the central members of the team’s ownership group, passed away on Feb. 20.
* TLR said that Lance Berkman will be held out of pretty much all throwing for a few days to rest his sore elbow. He’s the starting DH today and won’t be back in the outfield for a few days. He also won’t throw in drills.
* For Thursday’s split-squad day, Kyle McClellan will pitch at home against Washington, while Jaime Garcia will start the game against the Mets at Port St. Lucie.
* No starting has been named for the Saturday game at home against the Astros.
* On March 9, the Cardinals and Braves will play a morning “B” game at the Braves complex, at Atlanta’s request.
* TLR had quite a bit of praise for Adron Chambers and Matt Carpenter this morning. Doesn’t mean either is going to make the club, but safe to say they’ve both made a good impression.
* Albert Pujols is out of today’s lineup but will play tomorrow and Thursday, then skip the trip to Kissimmee on Friday.
Tanya Donelly, “World On Fire”
The Hold Steady, “Arms and Hearts”
R.E.M., “New Test Leper”
Aimee Mann, “How Am I Different”
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Sidewalking”