Results tagged ‘ Albert Pujols ’

Monday camp tidbits: Pujols, fun in the cage, weather, Schumaker

Today was the nicest day we’ve had in a while down here, with more of that bright sunshine but also temperatures pushing the upper 60s. It gets even warmer tomorrow, but the forecast also calls for storms.

* TLR said this morning that the early game schedule for Albert Pujols will be about the same as it always is. Something like: one game, and then a day off; two games, then a day off; three games, then a day off. Pujols’ surgery this winter doesn’t make him any less available, and in fact the decreased discomfort in his elbow may make him a little bit more available.
* One of the more entertaining sessions of camp so far came on Field 6 this morning. 
Kyle Lohse was throwing live batting practice to the heart of the order: Pujols, Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick and Colby Rasmus.
Early in the session, Pujols hit a chopper up the middle that likely would have gone for a soft single, and said quite audibly, “That’s how you hit .300.”
Lohse shot back a comparison of Pujols to Ichiro, which drew a threw laughs — but perhaps wasn’t forgotten. The next time Pujols came up, he drilled a home run to left field, though he didn’t say a thing this time.
In line after Pujols was Holliday, who took a strike early in his ‘at-bat.’ Lohse playfully asked, “How do you take that?” Holliday didn’t say a word, but answered with his bat — he scorched the next pitch up the middle, a very hard-hit line drive that quite surely was a base hit.
Holliday still said nothing, but now Adam Wainwright piped in: “It’s a new year, Kyle. Last year that would have hit you!”
* Getting back to the weather: tomorrow’s storms could play havoc with the schedule, since it’s the only day the Cardinals have to work inside the main stadium before games start. However, TLR said it’s not really feasible to try to do anything in advance to account for that. Instead, the Cards will just try to get as much done as possible before the weather hits.
* Asked if he expected to see Skip Schumaker in the outfield this year, La Russa said he didn’t anticipate that happening very much at all.
Today’s playlist:
The Strokes, “Last Night”
The Breeders, “Divine Hammer”
The Libertines, “Can’t Stand Me Now”
Talking Heads, “And She Was”
Modest Mouse, “Gravity Rides Everything”

Friday camp tidbits: Pujols, Lohse, more

It was another unusually cool, but still pleasant, day today in Jupiter. Temps started around 50 and got up into the 60s, but we had a little less wind today.

Coming up on the site this afternoon/evening are several stories that I hope you’ll look out for: something on Jaime Garcia’s quest to make the rotation and why the odds are stacked against him; a piece on Brendan Ryan’s recovery; a piece on Adam Wainwright’s live BP session against four of the team’s best hitters; and a look at TLR’s comments on the commissioner’s blue-ribbon panel that he’s a part of.
On with the tidbits…
* TLR said that he likes what he has seen of Albert Pujols so far after elbow surgery and that the slugger seems to be in good physical shape.
“I don’t really watch the live pitching too much,” La Russa said. “I just don’t like our hitters against our pitchers. But in coaches’ BP, it looks like he’s swinging free.
“I tell you what I believe more than anything else: whatever he says, trust him. He’s got a ton of integrity and he’s very straightforward in what he says. so I just listen to him carefully and whatever he says, that’s what it is. he’s earned it.”
* Kyle Lohse looked good in his live batting practice today, though of course with the constant caveat that it’s still February. More important, Lohse has consistently looked healthy and unrestricted in all of his throws.
“So far, so good,” La Russa said.
* The Cardinals once again adjusted their schedule a bit due to the weather. With the early chill giving way to more pleasant conditions as the day went on, the start of the workout was pushed back. Typically, the team takes the field for stretching at 9:30 a.m. ET. Today it was 10 a.m.
* Also from the schedule: one box on the day’s schedule sheet, for pitchers’ shagging balls in batting practice, had the following notation: “3 yr rule.”
And it’s just what you might guess: pitchers with fewer than three years of Major League service time had to shag. Those with more, were excused.
* TLR said he’s still working out how exactly he’ll assemble the travel squads for some of the Cards’ Grapefruit League trips. The trips are longer this this year, with the short jaunts to Fort Lauderdale and Vero Beach no longer on the schedule. Port St. Lucie is the only trip that’s under 100 miles.
“The schedule, travel-wise, is more onerous than we’ve had here,” he said.
“I know we’re going to have to give that some shot and talk to some veterans.”
Today’s playlist:
White Stripes, “Seven Nation Army”
Radiohead, “Planet Telex”
Cure, “Watching Me Fall”
Living Colour, “Method”
Foo Fighters, “Erase/Replace”

Sunday camp tidbits: the heart is here

Greetings on another spectacular day in Palm Beach County. We’re looking at temps getting up into the 70s, few clouds, not much wind, just perfect. 

* The heart of the order is here. Matt Holliday pulled in late yesterday afternoon and dropped off some belongings, and he took to the field today. Albert Pujols showed up this morning and hit the field as well. Meanwhile Ryan Ludwick, who has been around for several days, took most of the day off before the grind really gets going at the start of the week.
Infielders and outfielders, by the way, are perfectly welcome to do that at this point. Until full-squad workouts begin, even if an IF or OF has reported, it’s all optional. He can work out as much or as little as he wants.
* Live batting practice starts tomorrow, with four pitchers facing hitters for the first time. Four more hurlers will face hitters on Tuesday, and then on Wednesday it will really ratchet up.
* TLR was asked about the news that Joe Torre is evidently retiring after next season, in concert with Bobby Cox’s retirement at the end of this year.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Bobby Cox will not allow a farewell tour, and neither will Torre,” La Russa said. “And I was telling somebody, Bobby’s liable to have so much fun this year that he comes back next year. he’s got a nice club.”
Asked if the retirements of his peers got him thinking at all, he responded:
“I mean it sincerely: I think one thing that I learned and I’ve been religious about is, I don’t let extraneous thoughts get into my head. this is all about trying to treasure this opportunity to win with this club, and concentrating on that. so I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about — ANY time — thinking about age, number of years ahead or behind. It doesn’t help you. so I don’t think about those guys either. Just don’t think about it. every day, with our staff, there’s plenty to think about.”
* The manager also had some interesting thoughts on the difference between the Cardinals’ late-regular-season fade (they lost eight of their last 10) and their playoff exit. He drew a line between them, saying there was very little similarity in how the club played.
“We definitely had some issues the last 10 games that were fixable,” he said. “But oher than the result, and I’ve said this before, I watched us against the Dodgers in Dodger Stadium and we were a good-looking club. I thought we competed really, really well. And then you get home and it was not a good game. We fell behind early and Padilla, we couldn’t get the ball out of the infield against him. I’m not including that one. So I felt like we were very competitive and we were 0-2. But the last three series, man, that was not good.
“I know we were ready to play against the Dodgers. But we did not do a good job the last [three series of the regular season].”
Today’s playlist: 
The Cribs, “We Share the Same Skies”
Phoenix, “Lisztomania”
Hot Chip, “I Feel Better”
The XX, “Night Time”
Editors, “Papillon”

Thursday tidbits: Pujols, Molina, DeRosa, Freese

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

It’s finally the end of the road trip. Headed home tonight, and tomorrow actually brings me an off day as I celebrate turning 35.

* Albert Pujols wasn’t feeling good last night or this morning, so the initial lineup did not include him. But Pujols took a nap and took some medicine — I actually saw him snoozing in the clubhouse — and by game time he was OK.

“I wanted to be out there for Carp,” Pujols said after the game. “But if I would have known that he was going to carry our offense like this, I would have stayed on the bench.”

* Yadier Molina didn’t seem at all concerned about his leg tightening up in the fifth inning on Thursday. The early innings moved very slowly, and it was fairly cool. He and TLR both said they expect him to play tomorrow night.

* Mark DeRosa just got a scheduled day out of the lineup. Day after night, and a chance for Glaus to get some ABs.

Today’s playlist has an obvious theme:
Postal Service, “Such Great Heights”
Jimmy Buffett, “Come Monday”
Simon and Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound”
Dave Dudley, “Six Days On the Road”
Rolling Stones, “Moonlight Mile”


Wednesday tidbits: Ryan, callups, Pujols, clinch plans

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Greetings from what could be clinch night at Minute Maid Park.

* Brendan Ryan was out again tonight. He’s still dealing with stiffness and soreness in the pinkie finger on his left hand, a result of a slide about a week ago. Ryan feels he’s playable, but TLR sees no reason to push him.

* Four callups arrived today: David Freese, Tyler Greene, Josh Kinney and Matt Pagnozzi. Don’t expect any of them to see a great deal of playing time. TLR made it very clear that priority one, once the Cardinals clinch, is to get ready for the playoffs. So the callups’ primary purpose will be to aid in that. The problem is that with two off days between now and next Sunday, there’s not an overwhelming need to give rests to the regulars. So they’ll get an at-bat/inning here and there, but the opportunities will be limited.

As for the guys who didn’t get called up, TLR pointed to both 40-man roster considerations (neither Allen Craig nor Royce Ring is on the 40) as well as opportunity. He just didn’t think either guy would get enough work to justify bringing them in.

Personally, I’d have liked to see them make an opportunity for Craig, who ideally will have a role on the 2010 team. But I don’t make the decisions. Obviously.

* A day after he was removed as a precaution due to a “jammed” wrist, Albert Pujols was back in the lineup as expected.

* If the Cardinals somehow clinch the division tomorrow night, which is possible, the club has no special plans. If both St. Louis and Chicago win tonight, or if they both lose, the magic number will be one. The Cubs play tomorrow night in San Francisco, so in a case like that, a Cubs loss against the Giants would salt away the division.

However, TLR and a couple of players said there are no plans for a group outing or anything like that if the number is one.

“We’re going to take a day off,” the manager said, “and not worry about it. … It happened to us [in Oakland] in ’92. We clinched during an off day. it’s not worth messing with guys’ plans. It’s better at the ballpark. We’d do it after the game Friday.”

Today’s playlist:
Electronic, “Idiot Country”
Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”
Aimee Mann, “You Could Make a Killing”
Buffalo Tom, “Rules”
Everclear, “The Twistinside”


Tuesday late night tidbits: Pujols, Molina, rotation, McClellan, Glaus, Ryan, Ludwick

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

When you wait till the end of the night, it means even more tidbitty goodness. If you’re reading this in the morning, well, I hope in the words of Walter Sobchak, you’re “enjoying your coffee.”

* Albert Pujols “jammed” his wrist on a tag play in the seventh inning on Tuesday night, which is why he was removed from the game. However, TLR and Pujols both played it down, and Pujols was in fine spirits in the clubhouse after the game.

TLR said “he’s good to go.” It will be surprising if Pujols is not in the lineup on Wednesday.

* Yadier Molina took a pitch off his right index finger while he was catching in the first, but obviously he stayed in the game and was fine.

* The rotation for this weekend in Colorado will be as follows: Carpenter on Friday, Wainwright on Saturday, Lohse on Sunday. That was pretty well figured, but TLR didn’t confirm it until today. Pineiro said that he will go on Tuesday in the series opener in Cincinnati.

* The optimism level regarding Troy Glaus seems to be very low. John Mozeliak acknowledged this afternoon that Glaus’ injury is not typically a quick-healing kind of deal, and said the club expects to have a better read this weekend on whether Glaus will play again this season.

* TLR was cagey as to why Brendan Ryan didn’t start tonight, basically saying Ryan needed a day and this was the right day. He seemed to indicate that he preferred Lugo offensively against Yorman Bazardo, but honestly he just didn’t give much up — despite several questions. “Manager’s decision,” as Jimy Williams was so fond of saying.

Even so, PLEASE don’t go all conspiracy-theory on this one. I expect to see Ryan back in there tomorrow.

* The skipper also said that after a couple of missed executions by Ryan Ludwick in recent days, he wanted to give Ludwick a mental break — and that that mental break might even last through Wednesday.

* I was supposed to participate in this, but, well, I’ll be honest — I flaked. So I at least want to pass a link along to the most recent project by the United Cardinal Bloggers. It’s their Top 7 Prospects project. These folks all do some cool stuff, so give it a look.

* If you want to read about news from earlier in the day/night, please do. My Wagner Mateo story can be found here, and the call-ups can be found here.

And, finally, a playlist:

“After Midnight,” Eric Clapton
“In the Midnight Hour,” Wilson Pickett
“Living After Midnight,” The Donnas (yes, I prefer their cover)
“Midnight Rambler,” Rolling Stones
“Prove It All Night,” Bruce Springsteen


Friday evening tidbits: Lohse, Mateo, Ryan, Glaus, Freese, more

Matthew Leach

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

It’s a very busy night for tidbits, so fortunately I have some new music as I write. The new Pearl Jam album is streaming online now, and you can go check it out yourself. On top of that, I picked up the new Living Colour album this afternoon.

Anyway, on with, you know, the baseball…

* Kyle Lohse threw a bullpen session today and is expected to pitch sometime in the Houston series. It would almost certainly be Monday or Tuesday. If they wait until Wednesday, someone else would need to be slotted in to take the Tuesday start, since a fifth starter will be required them.

* reported today that Wagner Mateo “is having vision problems that may affect his contract status” with the Cardinals. I spoke with John Mozeliak today, and while he didn’t go into much detail regarding Mateo, he acknowledged that there is a medical concern with Mateo.

“There are some things medically that we’re looking at,” Mozeliak said. “We’re hopeful that in the next few weeks we can have everything settled.”

* Brendan Ryan was back in the lineup today after missing some time due to a finger injury.

“He’s playable,” TLR said. “I don’t know if he’s got a little soreness left, probably, but a lot of guys have soreness here in September. So he’s playable.”

* Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (aka @jack) visited the park today and threw out a ceremonial first pitch. I’ll have a little more on this shortly.

* Troy Glaus’ status remains uncertain as he attempts to recuperate from a strained left oblique. TLR had this to say regarding Glaus:

“I think there’s a big question mark next to him. But there’s definitely not an X next to him.”

He also said that it’s possible that Glaus’ situation might increase the chances of a David Freese promotion. Last week, TLR downplayed the likelihood of Freese being called up.

* Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick were both back in the lineup after being hit by pitches in the ninth inning on Sunday.

* TLR re-affirmed today that he expects to go with 14 hitters and 11 pitchers on the postseason roster.

Today’s playlist is in honor of the new Living Colour album. And it’s… some old Living Colour.

“Middle Man”
“Time’s Up”
“Elvis is Dead”
“Sacred Ground”


Saturday tidbits: Lohse, Boggs, Hawksworth, Wellemeyer, Ryan

* Kyle Lohse was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, and Mitchell Boggs was called up. Boggs is available to pitch in relief as soon as he is needed.

The Cardinals are still not committing to a starter for Lohse’s spot in the rotation, but signs point to Boggs. They remain hesitant to take Blake Hawksworth out of the bullpen.

* Todd Wellemeyer is coming along OK but has not begun throwing off a mound. FSN’s Jim Hayes reports that Wellemeyer will throw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday. TLR said he expects that Wellemeyer will need to go throw somewhere in the Minors before rejoining the big league pitching staff.

* The skipper also expounded a little more on last night’s baserunning hijinks at second. He said the sign from the dugout was “must run” — not exactly a steal, but both runners run as soon as the ball is headed to home plate. There are, he said, all sorts of shades of run signs, including “want you to run,” where the runner has the discretion if it doesn’t look smart, and a green light, where the runner is free to run. But this was “must run” — no discretion involved, except to make sure the pitcher is going to the plate.

Thus, in his mind, there was no doubt that it was Ryan’s mistake.

Tonight’s playlist:
Weezer, “The Good Life”
Jane’s Addiction, “Mountain Song”
Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
The Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name”
Pinback, “Fortress”


Sunday tidbits: Bullpen, Ludwick, Pujols, Ryan

Hello, all…

Most of the coverage today will be in the hands of the capable BJ Rains, who actually did the legwork in the clubhouse this morning. I’m working on some various other stuff for the coming week, including an Inbox and an off day story or two. Also, I’ll be on vacation starting tomorrow and running through all of next week, then back on duty on Aug. 9 — and ready for a full-on sprint to the finish.

Here are today’s tidbits, again with a major hat-tip to young Mr. Rains.

* Ideally, the Cardinals would love not to have to use Ryan Franklin today. He pitched three in a row then had one off, and the preference is to rest him two days after he pitches three straight. But chances are, if it came down to it, he’d pitch in a tight game with a chance to close out a win.

TLR on the situation: “It would be great for McClellan not to have to pitch, but we will try to win the game. Motte is ready to go. Franklin has had one day off after pitching in three straight. It is what it is. Hawksworth is ready. Thompson probably shouldn’t pitch. Wellemeyer can pitch. We’re playing for today. But we have Waino and we will make sure he gets the benefit of the doubt without hurting him. The best thing to do would be to score a lot of runs.”

* Ryan Ludwick sits again today, while Pujols plays again. I had some hunch that Pujols might get a day today, but maybe he’ll rest one day on the road trip.

The mgr on that topic: “This gives Colby two in a row and Ankiel plays two out of three, and Ludwick has been in there all of the time. It’s not going to hurt him to get two [days off this week]. I think of it the opposite. I look at who’s playing, not who’s sitting. You guys look at who’s not playing. Ludwick is ready to play, but it’s good for him not to.”

* Brendan Ryan continues to improve. Despite Ryan’s prior optimism, though, he’s not available today — apparently not even to come off the bench.

Today’s playlist:
Iglu & Hartly, “In This City”
Kasabian, “L.S.F.”
MGMT, “Kids”
Chairlift, “Bruises”
Passion Pit, “The Reeling”


Saturday tidbits: Ryan, K.Greene, Pujols, Holliday

* Brendan Ryan said today that his sore left ankle has made a great deal of improvement. He hopes to play tomorrow, but that looks very unlikely. Tuesday in New York is definitely not out of the question, though.

“I want to be out there,” Ryan said. “I want to help the team. So if I can help with defense or whatever, I want to be out there. With Carp going today, I would have liked to be behind him, but that’s not going to happen. … But there is that off day after [tomorrow], so they might just bang me regardless. That off day wouldn’t hurt. But we’ll see. It’s either going to be tomorrow or it’s going to be Tuesday. And it’s likely going to be out of my hands.”

* Khalil Greene was activated from the disabled list today, with Mitchell Boggs optioned to Memphis. That doesn’t mean Boggs is out of favor, or anything of the kind. The Cardinals just don’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 11.

As for Greene, he’s not in the starting lineup, and it sounds like he figures in more as a bench player than anything.

Said TLR: “We can definitely use him as a pinch-hitter. I think we’ll look for a start someplace.”

* Several people mentioned last night that on the umpire-interference call, the only contact between Rodriguez and Gary Darling came on Rodriguez’s follow-through. La Russa said that Darling acknowledged that, but told him that even so, it still counts as interference.

* TLR when asked today about Pujols’ health: “He’s got his aches and pains, but he’s feeling good enough. he’s felt like this and gotten a bunch of base hits.”

* Matt Holliday, like Rick Ankiel, has a blog with MLBlogs. It was updated today. Check it out at

Today’s playlist:
Bob Mould, “Life and Times”
Jason Isbell, “Good”
Son Volt, “The Picture”
Matthew Sweet, “Sick of Myself”
My Morning Jacket, “Off the Record”