Results tagged ‘ Justin Speier ’

Monday tidbits: Miller, Smoltz, Speier, Rasmus, Hawksworth

By Matthew Leach
MLB.com

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Greetings from Dodger Stadium, which remains one of my favorite places in baseball. It’s a spectacular night out here, clear and a little bit cool.

* Shelby Miller, of course, agreed to terms with the Cardinals today. Jeff Luhnow said there’s a chance he may pitch a few innings with one of the team’s affiliates before the season is out. He’ll be in St. Louis next week, where he’ll throw a bullpen, and they’ll go from there.

* John Smoltz was released by the Red Sox today, and he’s definitely on the Cardinals’ radar. TLR expressed interest in him once again today, and Dave Duncan acknowledged he was an intriguing guy as well — with the caveat that there’s some question about how resilient his arm would be.

Still, quite a few teams are interested in Smoltz, and some likely would be interested in him as a starter. He’s a free agent and can go where he wants — and it’s my understanding that his top two priorities are starting and winning.

* Duncan, however, expressed little enthusiasm for Justin Speier.

* Colby Rasmus is not in tonight’s lineup tonight for a familiar reason. TLR doesn’t like to take a guy who’s just starting to get hot and put him in a situation where he’s likely to get cooled off — a situation like facing a knuckleballer.

* Elsewhere in the lineup, the skipper is basically deciding the No. 2 spot based on the other team’s bullpen. If it’s a team like the Dodgers, with Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill in the bullpen, he’ll split up the two lefties in the order. If it’s a team like the Padres, without a particularly strong lefty presence in the bullpen, he’ll put the two lefties 1-2.

* TLR was asked about giving Blake Hawksworth a start. His response: “We need him in the bullpen more than we need him as a starter. … It would be nice to do that, but that would really make us vulnerable in the bullpen.”

* Dodgers great Don Newcombe dropped by the Cards clubhouse today.

Today’s playlist is all Depeche Mode after last night’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl (and all stuff they played at that show):
“Walking In My Shoes”
“Home”
“Enjoy the Silence”
“Never Let Me Down Again”
“Strangelove”

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Boggs and the rotation, Motte and the bullpen, Thompson, Molina

It’s another amazingly nice night at Busch Stadium, with a game-time temp of 85 degrees. Thanks to a nice breeze it feels milder than that.

* TLR wouldn’t commit to anything in the rotation beyond Sunday. For the weekend against the Padres, it will be Wainwright, Pineiro and Lohse. Monday in Los Angeles is the question mark. It could be Chris Carpenter on four days’ rest, or they could choose to give Carpenter the extra day, pitch him Tuesday and go with someone else on Monday.

It’s telling, though, that Mitchell Boggs was not sent down after yesterday’s game. That would seem to indicate that he will get another start. The question is whether that will be Monday or Tuesday. Either way, the next turn would come over the weekend against the Padres at PETCO Park.

One difference, as things go forward. If Carpenter pitches on Monday, he could go the following Saturday, and that would allow him to pitch at home against Houston on Aug. 27, rather than over the following weekend against Washington.

* The skipper acknowledged that Jason Motte is struggling, and that the Cardinals are looking for some right-handed relief help. Per his usual m.o., he refused to give much of a “scouting report” about what’s going on with Motte, but he said he believes it’s not similar to Kyle McClellan last year, when McClellan seemed to fade as a result of a heavy workload.

As for the possibilities for help, La Russa acknowledged that both John Smoltz and Justin Speier hold some appeal. However, there’s a catch with Smoltz. If he wanted to pitch in relief, he could simply have accepted the Red Sox’s assignment to the Minors, get conditioned for bullpen work, and come back and pitch out of the pen for Boston. That did not appeal to him. Thus, it’s likely that if he’s traded, it will be to a team that would use him in the starting rotation.

By comparison, Speier was released. He is a free agent. He could be had for nothing more than a roster spot and a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum salary. He’s a very interesting name, and probably better than his 5-plus ERA suggests. He’s remained effective against right-handed hitters, and his strikeout rate is still excellent.

* Brad Thompson’s appeal for his suspension is scheduled to take place on Aug. 25 via videoconference.

* Yadier Molina is in the No. 8 spot today, which is not at all TLR’s preference. He likes having someone with a little speed batting eighth, because it’s tough to sacrifice with a slow runner on first base. However, the only other option, in La Russa’s mind, was to bat Ankiel second, Brendan Ryan eighth and Molina sixth or seventh. And he strongly preferred to split up the only two left-handed hitters in the lineup, Schumaker and Ankiel.

Tonight’s playlist:
Depeche Mode, “In Chains”
Pilot Speed, “Barely Listening”
Gossip, “Heavy Cross” (loving this tune)
Teddybears, “Yours to Keep”
U2, “Moment of Surrender”

-M.

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