Results tagged ‘ Chris Duncan ’

Wednesday camp tidbits: Craig and Miller get noticed

Another warm, sunny day in Jupiter today, though it sounds like rain is coming soon.

Lots and lots of news out of Cardinals camp today, and of course some of it is already on the site — most notably Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday being scratched. But as for what’s not on the site, here goes…
* Allen Craig doubled and homered in his first Grapefruit League game of the year, and he caught TLR’s attention. La Russa’s comments on Craig after the game were really striking, and definitely worth taking note of.
“It shows me that we better pay attention every time he hits,” La Russa said. “What did I say before the game? He’ll have to hit his way on the team, right? … A guy hangs a changeup 2-0 and he gets to it, that’s impressive.
“We didn’t have a lot of other guys center it against him. Mock, I like his arm. [Craig] will  be out there again tomorrow.”
Asked if Craig might be the kind of player who could help as a pinch-hitter, La Russa answered:
“I don’t want to assign any roles to him till he gets on the club. I just think, take a look at him. I know that they say that in the last couple of months, he was as good as any hitter there was in the PCL. He really got it going. And this is his first action since then, and he gets two hits. So, what did you see? He’s here. he came in to get a shot, and he’s overcome the [quadriceps injury] and he’s got a lot of the spring left.”
Craig himself, meanwhile, had a philosophical comment on his attempt to hit his way onto the team:
“That’s what I’m good at,” he said. “I’m good at hitting. So that’s what I’m going to have to do to make the team. I don’t think that’s really anything new.”
* Also catching the attention of the field staff was Shelby Miller, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
“I was really impressed,” La Russa said. “Dunc has been saying this young guy has really got a good idea already. The one [wild] pitch was a cross-up. I thought he had good stuff. his composure was outstanding.
“He had some of the best composure out there for any pitcher on either side today. That’s a good test. He’s out there for the first time. he could have been a lot shakier than that and we’d have said, ‘Hey, what’s the big deal, as long as you’ve got talent.’ But he’s really impressive.”
* Mitchell Boggs gave up a home run, but overall showed significant progress from his first outing. He struck out three, didn’t walk anyone and was better in his second inning than his first.
* No additional cuts are likely until the end of the weekend.
* I mentioned on Twitter today how impressed I was by what Chris Duncan had to say regarding his last couple of years and his parting of ways with the Cardinals. I only got a little bit of it in the story, so I wanted to include some more here. It really stood out to me how mature, self-aware and reasonable he was about the whole situation.
Asked about the day he was traded: “It was kind of weird. But obviously they were getting ready to get Holliday and somebody had to go. I wasn’t playing well. It was probably better for me to go somewhere else where I might have a better opportunity. We had so many good outfielders and we were trading for a great player.”
And this is the main stuff. Asked about whether he had any hard feelings, or anything like that:
“It was kind of tough at the end. I remember the last game I started at home, I was getting booed. And then they put Rick in and the whole crowd erupted. That’s not easy to take. You try to block it out and stay focused, but I definitely felt like it was not going good.
“The bottom line is I wasn’t playing well, and we were competing for a pennant. Every opportunity that I got that I didn’t play well was costing the team games. I think that was the toughest thing for me. Every time [La Russa] wrote me in the lineup, I just so badly wanted to contribute and do something to help the team win. I felt like I was able to do that at the beginning, but more and more, as the season went on, I wasn’t doing that. It was tough. I felt like I was letting the guys down more than anything.
“I think when I got traded we were only one game up. All those games, and every opportunity I had to play was a chance to do something to help the team win. and when I didn’t, it was tough on me. 
“I know what it means to get written into a Major League lineup for a winning team. I just kept trying to tell myself that every time I’m in there, I had a chance to do something to help the team win. I just tried to stay focused. But I think I ended like 1-for-36 or something? I wasn’t helping the team. they had a chance to bring in a great outfielder that could take them the distance. So I understand.”
Some people are going to seize on the one short bit where he talks about being booed. But seriously. Read the whole thing. A lot of grace, a lot of class. To be admired, in my opinion.
No playlist, because this is already way too late.

Thursday tidbits: rotation, C.Duncan, 10,000 wins or not

Matthew Leach

Oddly, it’s an overcast night in San Diego,but still very mild and pleasant.

* Following Monday’s off day, the Cardinals have an opportunity to shake up their rotation a bit, but they’re not likely to get too cute. On Tuesday it will be Adam Wainwright against Houston, with Joel Pineiro getting the Wednesday assignment. The question is Thursday.

Chris Carpenter could start that game, or he could be pushed back to Friday against Washington. Essentially, if Carpenter doesn’t get pushed too hard tomorrow against the Padres, he’ll likely pitch on his fifth day against Houston. If he has to work very hard and could use the extra day, he’ll get it. Kyle Lohse will get the other of those two games, and John Smoltz’s next start after Sunday will be six days later, on Saturday the 29th.

* Talking to a couple of different people, it sounds unlikely that Chris Duncan will return to the Cardinals after his release from Triple-A Pawtucket in the Red Sox organization on Thursday.

“That’s his call,” TLR said. “It’s not ours. My guess is he’s not real pleased with us.”

According to one former teammate, it’s unlikely that Duncan would return as long as the current coaching staff is intact. Not that he had a problem with them — quite the contrary. But it’s no secret that there was a lot of baggage for Chris, playing for not only his dad but a manager who had known him since he was a kid.

Personally, I wish Chris well. Whatever else may be said, I like him personally and he was a very well-regarded teammate. I hope he lands on his feet somewhere.

* The Cardinals issued a statement today regarding the franchise’s all-time wins total. It’s the team’s position that they’re at 9,218 entering tonight, not 9,999. The club only recognizes the wins it recorded as a member of the National League.

* Some members of the team visited the Navy SEALs training facility near San Diego today.

No playlist, this is already too late getting posted.


Wednesday tidbits: Duncan, Lugo, DeRosa, Wellemeyer

We’ve got a tremendous game here in Houston tonight, and you may have heard it’s been a bit of a busy day. So finally I’ve got your tidbits. I won’t be on the rest of the trip, and will try to disconnect for a few days before getting back on it at home next week.

By now you’ve heard and read plenty about the Chris Duncan trade. A few notes on it, though.

* Duncan was a very, very popular player in the clubhouse. Guys will get over this, and it’s not like some irreparable rift has been created within the clubhouse or between the players and the front office, but some guys were definitely unhappy with the move.

* With that said, Lugo might be a very nice fit. Offensively, he certainly should be. He’s getting on base at a very high clip against LHP, and he did the same last year. That can only help the team. However, according to both the stats and people’s observation, his defense has fallen off a cliff. He suffered a significant quadriceps strain last summer and had knee surgery this spring. That’s a tough pair of knocks to a guy’s range.

* Some guys knew something was afoot regarding Duncan, but it’s my understanding that last night’s team meeting was not about this move.

* Despite the addition of Barden today (although it’s possible he’ll be gone again tomorrow) and Lugo probably tomorrow, TLR said he doesn’t expect to play Mark DeRosa in the outfield much.

* The pitcher was back in the 9 spot. The official explanation from the manager is that he wanted to bat Molina 7th, and he doesn’t like Molina in front of the pitcher because you want more speed on the bases when you sacrifice bunt with the pitcher.

* The Cardinals probably will not return to 12 pitchers any time soon. Between Philadelphia’s unfriendly ballpark and lineup, and next week’s home games, the preference is to stay at 13 for a while. The manager often argues that you’re more likely to have bullpen depth issues at home, since you have to pitch nine innings in a loss at home.

* And TLR also said Wellemeyer is definitely safe for his next start. They’re just not convinced that anybody else would offer more, and they believe he’ll improve. Don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger.

No playlist today. This thing is already way too late.


Cardinals option Duncan

The Cardinals optioned Chris Duncan to Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday.

General manager John Mozeliak confirmed the transaction on Tuesday morning but did not divulge which player would be added to the active roster, saying only that the roster spot would be filled “internally.” One possibility for a recall is Troy Glaus, who has been on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment as he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery. Glaus has yet to play in the Major Leagues in 2009.

Duncan, 28, underwent a rare surgical procedure over the winter, having a titanium disk inserted in his neck. He started the season well, hitting .304 and slugging .522 in April. Since then, though, he has steadily trended downward. In May, Duncan hit .227 and slugged .386, and in June his slugging percentage fell all the way to .289. Duncan is 1-for-31 since June 29.

On Tuesday, manager Tony La Russa angrily criticized portions of the St. Louis fan base and media who, in his opinion, have singled out Duncan unfairly as opposed to other Cardinals players who have slumped at the plate this year.


Tuesday tidbits: Duncan, Rolen, LaRue

Hello from Houston, where it’s a nice, cool 73 degrees under the roof.

* TLR took serious issue with the singling out of Chris Duncan today. It was in response to a question about pinch-hitting with Duncan in place of Brendan Ryan last night — an understandable move given that Jose Valverde has an enormous platoon split and that Ryan was not having a good game at the plate.

Here’s the entirety of his comments, with a couple of edits to make sure it is acceptable on a family blog and to make sure it makes sense:

“Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Valverde, [lefties are] hitting .300 versus .140 [for righties]. And did Ryan have a particularly good day? How can people ask? What’s the question there? A guy who could hit a two-run homer versus Brendan doing what? Looking futile again?

“Did anybody watch Brendan’s at-bats?

“Chris is a … whipping boy. I’m so tired of the unfairness with Chris Duncan, it makes me want to vomit. You can tell anybody … that he’s getting treated unfairly. It makes me want to vomit. That’s why I get upset as soon as he gets mentioned.

“They’ve got a great reputation in our town, but it’s not a perfect reputation.

“It’s a pretty clear difference [for Valverde between right- and left-handed hitters]. Plus Chris, even when he struggles, he’s one of our better pinch-hitters.

“This guy is treated unfairly. For fans that have the reputation that they have, that they deserve, they do have a couple quirks that are not fair. And he’s one of them.

“What’s so ridiculous is, if you watch Brendan, Brendan had no chance yesterday for some reason. So he’s going to do better in that at-bat? That’s ridiculous if you think about it. I think it’s ridiculous. And it has to do with the guy that pinch-hit. It’s really a black eye for some of our fans that are not objective about him for whatever reason. I’m not sure what it is. I can’t figure it out.”

My take, personally, not that you asked, is that he has SOMETHING of a point. Not that Duncan or anyone should be immune from criticism. He and Ankiel are both struggling badly. But it has always seemed to me that all things being equal, Duncan gets singled out more than pretty much any other Cardinal, and the tone does get really nasty at times.

* TLR also pretty swiftly shot down any notion of re-acquiring Scott Rolen. Here’s the entry I wrote about it over at the Trade Talk blog.

* Jason LaRue got the start over Molina tonight for a lot of reasons, including the string of days without a day off, and the fact that they prefer Molina to catch Carpenter and Wainwright the next two days. When the LaRue-Wellemeyer thing was brought up, TLR quickly pointed out that Molina caught Wellemeyer’s last good start, on July 2.

Tonight’s playlist:
Pearl Jam, “The Fixer”
Matt and Kim, “Daylight”
U2, “Magnificent”
Living Colour, “DecaDance”
Beastie Boys, “Pass the Mic” (get well, Yauch!)



Tuesday afternoon tidbit: Duncan on DL, Wainwright on mound


* Chris Duncan is on the disabled list with what has alternately been called a bulging disc and a pinched nerve in his neck. Joe Mather has been recalled from Memphis and is present and available.

* Adam Wainwright threw off a mound today for the first time since his finger injury. He anticipates a quick path back to the active roster, possibly as soon as 2 1/2 weeks (ie, the series at Wrigley). Also, for the conspiracy theorists, he dismissively laughed at the notion of returning in relief.

* Chris Carpenter threw his normal between-starts bullpen today and even took batting practice.


Alive and kicking

Your faithful correspondent has been shamed into getting back on the blogging train after a week of laziness. I’m actually off this weekend, so I prolly won’t be blogging again until Monday from Milwaukee, but I didn’t want to have a total oh-fer.

Thoughts/notes/etc from today…

* I was surprised, a bit, that Ludwick wasn’t in the lineup today over Chris Duncan. So of course Duncan homers and doubles against Matt Cain. Shows you what I know.

* TLR said some things today about how it’s not guaranteed that Brendan Ryan won’t be optioned once he’s healthy, but honestly… there’s pretty much no way he’s not on the roster once his rehab finishes.

* When Russ Springer is activated on Monday, my guess is that Thompson will be optioned, but I wouldn’t bet the house on it.

* From the Minors… Pete Kozma hit his first home run tonight, but he also started at 3B. Not sure what to make of that; I’ll try to find out what’s up. Hugo Castellanos started for Memphis tonight, evidently because Joe Rogers is on the DL.

* Highly, highly, highly recommend the new Stones live album. It’s the best live thing they’ve put out since I don’t know what — maybe Still Life, way back in 82. It sounds like the band I heard do some truly killer shows in 1998-99 and 2002, not the band I heard that sounded tired and bored in 2006. If you like the Stones, pick it up. I’m dying to see the movie.


Monday afternoon tidbits: Duncan back in lineup

Happy Opening Day, Houston style.

After a couple of days off, I’m somewhat refreshed; Peet’s coffee at the airport and a Whataburger certainly helped in that regard too. It’s a really nice day in Houston; it’s possible that for once the roof won’t be needed.

* Chris Duncan is back in the lineup, batting sixth; TLR and Duncan both said they see no restrictions on him

* Cesar Izturis is the leadoff man for the first time this year

* Ryan Ludwick was amused when it was pointed out to him that he’s leading the National League in triples; it’s up on the big video board in right field here.

* TLR said they’ll wait till after Pineiro pitches tomorrow to make a judgment on what happens with him. I specifically asked whether there’s a chance he’d take one more rehab even if he looks good, so as to help them better decide whom to remove. He declined to answer that, just saying they’ll wait till after tomorrow to make any decision.

–UPDATE– Pineiro will pitch for Memphis, at New Orleans, rather than at home for Springfield on Tuesday. Evidently there are weather concerns in Springfield.

* Lineup: Izturis SS, Ankiel CF, Pujols 1B, Glaus 3B, Ludwick RF, Duncan LF, Molina C, Wellemeyer P, Miles 2B.


Friday afternoon tidbits: Only one more for Pineiro?

It’s chilly; 49 right now and dropping as the evening goes on. But it appears that whatever clouds are here will be moving on, and there’s no threat to the game.

* Joel Pineiro showed up in the clubhouse today. He’s done with the Florida portion of his rehab. He’ll go to Springfield for a Tuesday rehab start, and he hopes that his next game would be in the big leagues — his next turn would fall Sunday 4/13, at the end of the road trip.

* Chris Duncan is getting closer but still not in the lineup. TLR said he wouldn’t have been in against Odalis Perez anyway.

* Brian Barton gets his first start, in the leadoff spot and left field. That leaves Rico Washington as the only hitter who has not started a game.

* Conventional wisdom seems to be that John Lannan will start Sunday for the Nationals, but as of now they still have not announced a starter for that game.

* STL lineup: Barton LF; Ankiel CF; Pujols 1B; Glaus 3B; Ludwick RF; Molina C; Izturis SS; Looper P; Miles 2B.

* WAS lineup: Guzman SS, Milledge CF, Zimmerman 3B, Johnson 1B, Kearns RF, Lo Duca C, Belliard 2B, Lopez LF, Perez LHP.

Friday’s playlist:
* The Kooks, “Naive”
* Tanya Donnelly, “New England”
* Talking Heads, “Life During Wartime”
* REM, “Living Well is the Best Revenge”
* Foo Fighters, “New Way Home”


Wednesday afternoon tidbits: Duncan sore, sitting

* Chris Duncan is out today with a sore left hamstring. Evidently he felt it last night but played through it, but they’ve decided to be cautious and give him the day off.

* TLR says Franklin looks fine to him, though Franklin said last night he’s a little off.

* Glaus is batting fourth, with Ankiel fifth, because of Glaus’ numbers against Aaron Cook — 5-for-9 with 4 XBH.

* STL lineup: Schumaker LF, Ludwick RF, Pujols 1B, Glaus 3B, Ankiel CF, Molina C, Kennedy 2B, Wellemeyer P, Izturis SS.

* COL lineup: Taveras CF, Tulowitzki SS, Helton 1B, Holiday LF, Atkins 3B, Hawpe RF, Torrealba C, Nix 2B, Cook P.