Results tagged ‘ Gerald Laird ’

Saturday non-Furcal tidbits

I and my teammate Ken Gurnick are actively chasing this Rafael Furcal story, but this particular round of tidbits is a Furcal-free zone. Updates from this afternoon in the clubhouse…

 

* Lance Berkman sits once again, but TLR sounded a lot like he expects Berkman to start tomorrow night. Not a guarantee, but he definitely sounded more confident about that than he has in a while.

* The absence of Berkman added up, today, to Skip Schumaker in right field and Ryan Theriot taking his place at second base. Theriot mentioned last night that he has a bit of shoulder soreness, and that’s part of why he’s playing second. But, as I hinted last night on Twitter, it’s hard to see it as total coincidence that Theriot’s first appearance at 2B came just as a potential Furcal deal appeared to be picking up some steam.

* The situation with the backup catchers hasn’t really changed. Tony Cruz is improved and is close to fully available. Gerald Laird is also improving but still basically emergency-only.

* Mitchell Boggs is dealing with another recurrence of the back soreness that has bothered him off and on this year. He’s likely out a couple of days.

* TLR said that although the team is somewhat short on relievers today, he’d still prefer not to use Lance Lynn as a long man.

“But,” he said,” we want to win the game today, and if we need two innings from him, you worry about tomorrow tomorrow.”

* Allen Craig is still not especially close, but TLR said he could conceivably join the club by the end of the upcoming road trip.

And, finally, the playlist, which is another iPhone shuffle special:

Duran Duran, “Hold Back the Rain”
The Killers, “Mr. Brightside”
Joe Jackson, “Breaking Us In Two”
Cold War Kids , “Cold Toes On The Cold Floor”
Violent Femmes, “Confessions”

-M.

 

Friday tidbits: another bunch of ‘em

* As you no doubt know already, Nick Punto has been placed on the DL and Tyler Greene has been recalled to take his place. TLR sounded hopeful but not overly confident that Punto would miss the minimum. Oblique injuries, as any Cardinals fan knows by know, can be very tricky.

* Lance Berkman is not in the lineup but could well be available to pinch-hit. As I wrote here yesterday, this is not a big surprise. They’re going to give him one day too many, rather than one day too few. I expect he’ll play before the weekend is out.

* Tony Cruz is more available than Gerald Laird, though Laird could play in an emergency.

* I asked TLR about the decision to use Marc Rzepczynski for two full innings last night, and he said it resulted from a couple of factors. One element, though, was that they wanted to get a good look at what they have.

“We needed three innings. So one guy had to get two and the other guy get one. And if he had a quick first, let him have the second one. we weren’t going to play him forever. But it was a good chance for us to see him, and we didn’t really have another guy we wanted to pitch that day.”

* Rzepczynski could, conceivably, be available to face one batter tonight, but it’s unlikely.

* Corey Patterson is, in fact leading off. Asked about that too, and TLR pointed to his 6-for-10 mark against Matt Garza.

* TLR on the Astros’ aggressiveness on the basepaths last night, especially when Laird was in the game:

“They weren’t running on [Laird]. they were running on Jaime. They’ll run on Jaime sometimes when Yadi’s catching, if they get a jump.”

And, finally, the playlist, which is an actual five-song sequence from putting my iPhone on shuffle:

Public Enemy, “Louder Than A Bomb”
Chemical Brothers, “The Private Psychedelic Reel”
The White Stripes, “Rag & Bone”
Jimi Hendrix, “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)”
Everything But The Girl, “Missing” (the original acoustic one)

-M.

Punto, Laird lifted due to injury

A Cardinals team already playing a bit short lost two players due to injury in the first four innings of its game against the Astros on Thursday night.

Infielder Nick Punto was lifted at the start of the fourth inning due to a strained left oblique muscle, continuing a frustrating year for the utilityman. Punto has already been on the disabled list twice, due to a sports hernia and a right forearm injury.

Two innings earlier, catcher Gerald Laird was due to what the club is calling a mild sprain of his left ring finger. Both players’ statuses were announced as day-to-day.

Laird started in place of Yadier Molina, who received a routine night off. He had a bit of a rough first inning, as Houston stole two bases and Laird was charged with a passed ball. But in the bottom of the second, he singled and scored.

After that, though, Laird did not come out for the third inning. Rookie Tony Cruz took his place behind the plate and in the No. 6 spot in the St. Louis batting order.

The Cardinals began the night short-handed because outfielder Lance Berkman is recovering from discomfort in his right shoulder. He received a cortisone injection on Wednesday and could be out until the weekend.

-M.

A very large number of Thursday tidbits

97 degrees at 6:45 p.m. Glad I’m up here and not down on the field tonight. Those of you in the stands, be safe please.

* Raul Valdes was optioned to make roster room today, since the Cardinals added 4 players in yesterday’s trade but traded away only three from the active roster. TLR said they never really considered going to 13 pitchers even for a little while, and that they just didn’t see any way that Valdes should have stayed around instead of any of the RH relievers they have. So they’ll go with one lefty for at least a while.

* As a result of the trade and sending out Valdes, there’s really no long reliever right now. Lance Lynn is probably the closest fit, and they’d hesitate to use him. If there’s a need for a lot of innings, it will be several guys getting an inning or two rather than one person soaking a bunch of them up.

TLR quote: “If we run into a game where we’re behind or ahead by a lot, we really don’t have the guy out there that you say, ‘OK, let’s use him and if he’s not available the next few days, no big deal.’ The reality is we’ll use them all. Try to keep them fresh.”

* The manager said that he won’t be afraid to use Octavio Dotel against a left-handed hitter, despite some ugly splits for the veteran righty.

“I think when he’s close, he’s close against everybody,” the skipper said.

Over the past three seasons, left-handers have a 277/413/584 line against Dotel with 11 homers in 202 at-bats. He has 49 strikeouts against 45 walks vs LHH in that time.

* Meanwhile, new lefty Marc Rzepczynski does not profile as a specialist. “Scrabble” looks more like a one-inning lefty, in the vein of someone like Scott Downs, rather than a LOOGY.

* Yadier Molina gets a night off tonight, but it’s just a night off after three straight games in some serious heat. TLR was asked about maybe playing Molina tonight and Gerald Laird tomorrow, to catch Edwin Jackson, but said he actually wanted to get Molina catching Jackson as soon as possible.

* Lance Berkman is not available tonight, except possibly in a real emergency. Though Berkman said yesterday that he hoped to play Friday, TLR sounded less confident about that. They will err on the side of giving Berkman too much time away, rather than bringing him back too soon.

* In his stead, Corey Patterson gets the start tonight. It’s really the only other option, since there are only 4 outfielders on the active roster right now. Skip Schumaker would be the alternative if they substituted, and of course we’ve already seen Tony Cruz in the outfield this year.

* Ryan Theriot makes a rare appearance outside the leadoff spot against a LHP, batting seventh. TLR on the switch: “His stroke is a work in progress right now. Right-handers don’t bother him. Just right now, his stroke is a work in progress. Could have done it sooner.”

* Nick Punto’s elbow is improving, and he has told the staff that he can play the left side of the infield. However, TLR would still have some hesitation to play Punto at shortstop. Third base is more in play than short, and ideally they prefer to keep Punto at second as much as possible for the time being. They would put Daniel Descalso at short and Punto at third, rather than the other way around, if those were the choices.

* The manager took issue with a couple of ways the Rasmus trade has been presented. I’ll let him speak for himself.

On whether the deal was “inevitable:”

“I totally disagree with that one. … It wasn’t inevitable. We have a chance to win now, and he was the one bullet. If we had different bullets, or they thought it was smart to reach into the system… No. We would have kept him. But that’s how we got the chance to improve. And in the end, the way we get judged is how many games we win. not the sense it makes, which is not really the test. And that’s the reality, so it’s fine.”

And on whether he and his staff push unusually hard for win-now trades and transactions:

“The thing is that supposedly I’m unusual because it’s win at all costs at the Major League level, at the exclusion of other considerations for an organization. Win now, win now. Well, first of all, that’s true of all managers. That’s what they pay you to do with whatever you’ve got. If you’re a .500 club, win half your games. Sometimes the organization decides they’re going to develop. You’ve lost the season and they’re going to develop. You go to develop, and you still try to win the games. So that’s not unusual. That’s what they pay you for, to get wins.

“But the other one that I think is a fair comment, if you ask… our staff and I take a lot of pride in taking the long view for the organization. I don’t think we have ever, ever recommended a move for now that we knew was a detriment to the organization beyond a couple years. … The classic explanation is you’re not going to be here in a couple years, so what do we care if you trade every young prospect? We’ve gotten a lot of points as a staff from Walt [Jocketty] and Mo… I read where Mo said it, that [people] don’t understand how much attention not just myself but our staff gives to what’s good for the organization now and down the road. For years, ‘You can’t trade that guy,’ we understand that. ‘You can’t bring that guy over here, he’s not worth the money.’ How many times have we had a pitcher or somebody establish value and you say, ‘See you later’ because he isn’t worth the money. Puts you in a hole. So that one I think is unfair based on the history of what our staff has done here over the years. I think we’re real conscious about the health of this organization beyond the year we’re playing.”

And, finally, the playlist:

R.E.M., “How The West Was Won And What It Got Us”
U2, “Mothers Of The Disappeared”
Depeche Mode, “Waiting For The Night”
Men At Work, “Down By The Sea”
Radiohead, “Exit Music (For A Film)”

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Plenty of Pujols, plenty more

Some of this will be covered in more depth in Austin Laymance’s notebook, which will go on the site a bit later this evening. But in the meantime, a look at some of the various topics going on pregame today.

* Albert Pujols is, of course, in the lineup. TLR said he has no specific plan to get Pujols a rest day here or there, or to play him two and sit him one, or anything like that.

“Just talk to him,” the manager said. “Check him out all the time. During the game, after the game, next day.”

TLR also said that if Pujols is asked to go to the All-Star Game as an injury replacement for someone, he hopes Pujols accepts.

* Gerald Laird is scheduled to be back in StL tomorrow, but it’s still not a certainty. TLR sounded a bit hesitant to call up Laird after only two games worth of rehab. Still, it sounds like the most likely thing is that we’ll see Laird tomorrow.

* David Freese is just getting a scheduled rest day. He’s played every game since being activated from the DL, and they just felt it was time to get him a breather.

* Eduardo Sanchez is in fact expected back for the first game after the break.

* Allen Craig is a little further behind. Per young Laymance, Craig is still a few days away from swinging a bat, which means that he’s likely at least a week away from going out on a rehab assignment. And it’s pretty safe to guess that Craig won’t have a 2- or 3-day rehab. They’ll probably want to make sure he gets some at-bats.

* They’re still in discussions as to what exactly the rotation will look like coming out of the All-Star break. However, with the extra off day on Thursday, TLR and Dave Duncan can deploy the starters in any order they wish for those games.

And, finally, the playlist…

Weezer, “Falling For You”
Pixies, “I Bleed”
The White Stripes, “Girl You Have No Faith In Medicine”
Violent Femmes, “Add It Up”
Cake, “Short Skirt/Long Jacket”

-M.

Tuesday tidbits: No DL for Holliday

Greetings from Busch Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous day. There are almost no clouds in the sky, the temperature reads 63 degrees on the signs in the bullpens and it appears we’re in for a very nice evening for baseball. And now on with the tidbits…

* Matt Holliday will not, for now, go on the disabled list. The club expects that he will be back before 15 days are up, and in fact more than a day or two before 15 days are up. So they’re going to play short in the interim. Holliday has done some running and throwing, and could swing a bat tomorrow.

* Gerald Laird is in for Yadier Molina, but it’s a scheduled day off for Molina. He suffered no significant ill effects from being jammed on a pitch last night.

* TLR said that there are no longer any real plans to go to 13 pitchers for the road trip. That idea was pretty much scuttled when Holliday became unavailable.

* The rotation has been announced for the start of the road trip, and it’s as expected. They’ll just roll the guys over: Westbrook on Friday against Jonathan Sanchez, Garcia against Matt Cain on Saturday and Lohse against Barry Zito on Sunday.

* David Freese may play tomorrow, which wouldn’t seem all that newsworthy except that it would be three straight games — something La Russa suggested was unlikely to happen much in the first couple months of the season.

And, finally, the playlist. It’s a themed one, all Nirvana in honor of the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.

“School”
“Come As You Are”
“Breed”
“Heart Shaped Box”
“Where Did You Sleep Last Night”

-M.

Monday camp tidbits: Looking at the lineup

* Today’s lineup looks an awful lot like what I expect to see on Opening Day, save for one thing. Gerald Laird returns to the lineup, starting in place of Yadier Molina. Other than that, I expect the same players in the same order 10 days from now.

1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Schumaker 2B
8. Laird C
9. Carpenter P
* The most interesting questions about the lineup remain in the 1-2 spots. I asked TLR today if he would be hesitant to start the lineup with two left-handed hitters, and he said he would. So if Schumaker leads off, there’s a decent chance you’d see Rasmus down in the 6th spot or so, and Theriot batting second. I think, personally, that today’s look is a much better alignment, as long as Theriot is capable of leading off. 
TLR also acknowledged that Schumaker can be a nice fit in the 6 or 7 spot as a guy who can hit line drives and maybe drive in some runs.
* Speaking of Laird (I was, briefly), he’s back in the lineup today. He’s under orders to take it fairly easy on the bases after he missed some time with hamstring discomfort, but he’s playing.
* It gets clearer and clearer that Bryan Augenstein is a name to take very seriously for this roster. Dave Duncan told me as much a couple of days ago, and TLR echoed that today. I think he may well be the favorite to be the long reliever on Opening Day.
* TLR said once again that he believes Freese’s playing time could be more than 2-out-of-3 games as the season goes along. He made the point, though, that in April they’ll likely still be quite cautious with Freese. In short, the increased optimism on Freese doesn’t really change the plans for how they’ll use him in the season’s first month or two, nor does it change what they’re thinking regarding a backup third baseman for the start of the season. Someone will need to be that guy.
And, finally, the playlist:
Tame Impala, “Solitude Is Bliss”
Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks”
Plan B, “Stay Too Long” (really dig this song)
Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”
Mute Math, “Electrify”
(woo XM Alt Nation!)
-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Freese, rotation, bullpen, Laird

Another gorgeous day in Jupiter, and t-minus 12 days to Opening Day. It’s getting here fast.

* The Cardinals have set up their starting rotation for the days after Tuesday’s off day. It will be Jake Westbrook on Wednesday, Jaime Garcia Thursday, Kyle Lohse Friday, Chris Carpenter Saturday the 26th and Kyle McClellan Sunday the 27th.
That sets up the first turn through the rotation to be Carpenter on Opening Day, Westbrook and Garcia for games 2-3 against the Padres, then Lohse and McClellan making their first starts against Pittsburgh.
Assuming McClellan is in the rotation, of course. Which is a pretty decent assumption at this point.
* Discussing David Freese today, TLR sounded like he’s adjusted his expectations for how much Freese can play this year. Earlier in camp, he said he’d be pleased with 110 games for Freese. Today he said that as the year goes on, he could see Freese only needing one day off a week, rather than two.
* Asked about the bullpen, the skipper acknowledged that the two open spots will in fact be chosen to some extent in conjunction with one another. For example, it’s unlikely that both jobs will go to pitchers who could only go one inning. 
* At this point, the plan is to hold out Gerald Laird until after Tuesday’s off day.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Raconteurs, “Salute Your Solution”
Queens of the Stone Age, “No One Knows”
Black Keys, “Howlin’ For You”
Cage the Elephant, “Back Against the Wall”
Louis XIV, “Finding Out True Love Is Blind”
-M.
-M.

Friday tidbits: Laird, Greene and more

Hello from Space Coast Stadium, home of some memorable games in recent years.

* Gerald Laird said this morning that he’s feeling just fine. However, TLR said that there’s a good chance Laird will be held out of tomorrow’s games as a precaution. 
* Tyler Greene, recuperating from an illness, made the trip and will start tomorrow in Kissimmee.
* TLR explained that part of why Bryan Anderson was sent out before Tony Cruz was a service time-related DL rule. Because of Anderson’s Major League service time, if he gets hurt in big league camp, he would have to be placed on the DL rather than optioned. Because Cruz does not have service time, he could still be optioned if he suffers an injury.
Today’s playlist:
Everclear, “Electra Made Me Blind”
Kanye West, “Blame Game”
Smashing Pumpkins, “Disarm”
Toy Matinee, “Things She Said”
Cure, “Cut”
-M.
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