October 2011

Cards to exercise Molina option; TLR welcome back

The Cardinals celebrated Sunday, but business gets back to normal for general manager John Mozeliak on Monday. That includes plenty of dealing with free agents, and trying to secure the team’s coaching staff for 2012. It also includes the matter of dealing with some club options.

One of those options is a slam dunk. Mozeliak said that he expects to exercise catcher Yadier Molina’s 2012 option on Monday. The option is worth $7 million, with a buyout of $750,000, and is the final year of a contract Molina signed before the 2008 season.

The club also holds options on relievers Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel, neither of which is likely to be exercised. However, the Cards could approach either or both about a return at a lower cost.

Additionally, Mozeliak made the club’s unsurprising stance on manager Tony La Russa clear: the team hopes to have its skipper back for a 17th season. La Russa and the team hold a mutual contract option for 2012.

-M.

Game 5 lineups

Cardinals
1. Furcal SS
2. Craig RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman DH
6. Freese 3B
7. Molina C
8. Schumaker CF
9. Punto 2B
Carpenter P

 

Rangers
1. Kinsler 2B
2. Andrus SS
3. Hamilton CF
4. Young DH
5. Beltre 3B
6. Cruz RF
7. Murphy LF
8. Napoli C
9. Moreland 1B
Wilson P

-M.

Game 4 lineups

Cardinals
1. Furcal SS
2. Craig RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman DH
6. Freese 3B
7. Molina C
8. Jay CF
9. Punto 2B
Jackson P

 

Rangers
1. Kinsler 2B
2. Andrus SS
3. Hamilton CF
4. Young DH
5. Beltre 3B
6. Cruz RF
7. Murphy LF
8. Napoli C
9. Moreland 1B
Holland P

 

-M.

Sunday lineups from Milwaukee

Cardinals
1. Furcal SS
2. Jay CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Berkman RF
5. Holliday LF
6. Freese 3B
7. Molina C
8. Punto 2B
9. Jackson RHP
Brewers
1. Hart RF
2. Morgan CF
3. Braun LF
4. Fielder 1B
5. Weeks 2B
6. Hairston 3B
7. Betancourt SS
8. Lucroy C
9. Marcum P

 

-M.

NLCS Game 2 lineups: Couple of small switches

Matt Holliday is back in the 4 spot, and Nick Punto is back at second base. Otherwise this lineup should look pretty familiar.

 

Cardinals
1. Furcal SS
2. Jay CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Punto 2B
9. Jackson P

Brewers
1. Hart RF
2. Morgan CF
3. Braun LF
4. Fielder 1B
5. Weeks 2B
6. Jairston 3B
7. Betancourt SS
8. Lucroy C
9. Marcum P

-M.

Cards’ roster set

The Cardinals set their roster Sunday morning for the National League Championship Series, and as expected the club made two adjustments.

 

Kyle McClellan and Lance Lynn were both added to the St. Louis bullpen, while second baseman Skip Schumaker and pitcher Jake Westbrook were removed from the roster. McClellan is returning from a bout with “dead arm,” while Lynn had been sidelined since August due to a strained left oblique muscle.

 

To make room for Lynn on the 40-man roster, the Cardinals designated outfielder Andrew Brown for assignment. Lynn had been on the 60-day disabled list, and Sunday was the first day he was eligible to be activated.

 

The Cardinals’ complete NLCS roster is as follows:

 

Pitchers: Jaime Garcia, Edwin Jackson, Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, Jason Motte, Fernando Salas, Octavio Dotel, McClellan, Lynn, Mitchell Boggs, Arthur Rhodes, Marc Rzepczynski.

 

Hitters: Yadier Molina, Gerald Laird, Albert Pujols, Ryan Theriot, Rafael Furcal, David Freese, Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, Adron Chambers.

 

-M.

Schumaker expected to be out for NLCS

Skip Schumaker felt worse on Saturday than he did on Friday night, and as a result, he is expected to be left off the Cardinals’ roster for the National League Championship Series. That’s one of two changes the Cardinals are likely to make to the roster they used to beat the Phillies in their NL Division Series.

Schumaker suffered a strained right oblique muscle in Friday night’s win against the Phillies. He was unable to participate in any sort of on-field activities on Saturday, leading to the decision to sideline him for the NLCS. He will most likely be replaced by a pitcher. The Cardinals actually intend to add two pitchers to their roster, most likely Kyle McClellan and Lance Lynn, while removing Schumaker and another pitcher. The primary candidate to be bumped from the pitching staff is apparently Jake Westbrook, who did not appear in the NLDS.

Thus the Cards would take 12 pitchers and 13 hitters into the NLCS, as opposed to an 11/14 breakdown in the Division Series. Other possibilities do still exist, including staying at 11 pitchers (and adding someone such as Tyler Greene to take Schumaker’s roster spot). Eduardo Sanchez will also receive some consideration. However, most likely is that McClellan and Lynn will be activated and the Cardinals will carry 12 pitchers.

Nick Punto and Ryan Theriot will be the primary candidates to get playing time in Schumaker’s stead.

“It was a little more sore this morning, no doubt about it,” Schumaker said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to be. It’s not the kind of thing where they can just tell you it’s a week or 10 days. Hopefully it’s just for this series but I couldn’t do any baseball activity today. That’s why it’s frustrating.”

(more to come on this at Cardinals.com later this evening)

-M.

Game 4 Lineups: Holliday is in

Cardinals

1. Furcal SS
2. Schumaker 2B
3. Pujols 1B
4. Berkman RF
5. Holliday LF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Jay CF
9. Jackson P

Phillies

1. Rollins SS
2. Utley 2B
3. Pence RF
4. Howard 1B
5. Victorino CF
6. Ibanez LF
7. Polanco 3B
8. Ruiz C
9. Oswalt P

-M.

NLDS Game 3 tidbits: Optimism on Holliday

* Matt Holliday took batting practice on the field today and said that he’s definitely improving in his recovery from tendinitis in his right hand. He had not been hitting on the field, and in the past couple of days had not been hitting pregame at all. He is considered available to pinch-hit and there seems to be at least some hope that he could do more than that at some point. I’ll have a good bit more on this on the site later this afternoon.

* TLR acknowledged that, as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was fined for his remarks on television during Sunday night’s game. He expressed contrition and said he had no issue with the discipline.

* Today’s lineup is the same as Sunday’s, except that Lance Berkman is back in right field with Allen Craig in left. And, of course, Jaime Garcia on the mound.

* Today is the birthday of both TLR and Kyle Lohse.

And, finally, the playlist, which is the last five songs of “Exile On Main Street” today. Just because.

“Let it Loose”
“All Down the Line”
“Stop Breaking Down”
“Shine a Light”
“Soul Survivor”

-M.

Monday workout day tidbits: Holliday, Pujols, Jackson, and lots more

It’s an absolutely perfect day in downtown St. Louis, and if the next two days are like this, we’re seriously in luck. Not a cloud visible, temperatures, in the mid-70s, just spectacular.

* The Cardinals are waiting to hear an update on Matt Holliday, and it could be any minute now. Holliday went to see a specialist to check on his ailing right hand. There still doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of optimism, but all opinions were guarded until the club gets the results of the latest exam.

* Albert Pujols is dealing with pain in both his left ankle and left heel, but neither is severe enough to keep him off the field. Per both TLR and John Mozeliak, nothing has really changed regarding Pujols’ status.

* TLR confirmed that, as expected, Edwin Jackson will start Game 4. Of course if there is a Game 5, Chris Carpenter will start it. That was the whole reason behind starting him on short rest in Game 2.

* Various Cardinals personnel downplayed the potential effect of shadows for Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s late-afternoon games. As of 4:10 or so today, both home plate and the pitchers’ mound were covered in shadow, with a band of light between them. As I write this, at about 5:20, the entire infield is covered in shadows. So if there are any problems, it should only be in the first hour or so of Game 3, and none in Game 4.

* Mozeliak said that he spoke briefly with someone in the Commissioner’s office on Sunday night regarding TLR’s in-game TV comments about home plate umpire Jerry Meals, but that he was merely asked if he knew what TLR had said. He has not heard from New York since then.

* TLR acknowledged that he could have a slightly different lineup for Cole Hamels than he did for Cliff Lee, but didn’t really divulge what that might entail. Hamels has a reverse platoon split this year, though, so that could be a factor.

* Kyle Lohse could be available to pitch in relief in Game 4.

And, finally, the playlist:
Sugar, “The Act We Act”
Nirvana, “Serve the Servants”
The Clash, “Spanish Bombs”
The Rolling Stones, “Live With Me”
Pearl Jam, “Mankind”

-M.

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