Results tagged ‘ Nick Punto ’
* 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)
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)”
The Cardinals found themselves down two infielders by the sixth inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Braves. David Freese and Nick Punto were both removed from the game due to injury.
Freese was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the top of the sixth. He took his base and remained in the game for the Cardinals’ half of the inning. However, when the Cardinals went into the field for the bottom of the sixth, he did not take his position. Daniel Descalso moved from second base to third, while Tyler Greene came in to play second. The club referred to Freese as having a “left hand contusion.”
Descalso, meanwhile, was only in the game as an injury replacement himself. Punto was removed from the game in the third inning due to what the club is calling tightness in his left hamstring. According to an announcement, the move was for “precautionary reasons.”
He was replaced at second base and in the leadoff spot in the Cardinals order by Descalso.
Yet another beautiful day in San Francisco. If you’ve never been to this park, seriously, get here. For my money, best place for a game in the Major Leagues.
* Matt Holliday is in the lineup and playing with basically no restrictions. He expects to be pretty much an everyday guy from here on out.
* TLR said that Ryan Franklin is still the closer, though Franklin is not available today except in case of emergency. He actually did entertain questions about the topic today, and we had a pretty good chat with him about it. And in short, his answer is that he and the club do not believe that Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Miguel Batista or anyone else is a better option right now. But he didn’t dismiss the topic out of hand.
* Lance Berkman sat out today despite good numbers against Barry Zito, in large part so he can play the next several games in a row. Just a preventative day.
* One topic that came up some last night on Twitter was a relatively quick hook on Jaime Garcia. I asked about it, and La Russa said it was not about getting a pinch-hitter in the game. Instead, he was simply convinced Garcia had had enough. Garcia had begun to look different to him in the 5th and 6th innings.
* Nick Punto continues to progress well, according to John Mozeliak. Punto is working out in extended spring training and is pain-free, the GM said, but he hasn’t yet been cleared to run at game speed. Punto will likely begin taking some at-bats in extended spring games before he’s cleared to play full games.
And, finally, one more Bay Area playlist, potpourri edition:
Counting Crows, “Angels of the Silences”
Primus, “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver”
Tony! Toni! Tone!, “If I Had No Loot”
Digital Underground, “The Humpty Dance”
Huey Lewis and the News, “Walkin’ On A Thin Line”
* Nick Punto will be headed to Florida when the Cardinals leave town for the West Coast. He’ll work out with the extended Spring Training folks for a few days, and could start playing EST games as soon as Monday.
* Matt Holliday continues to get closer. He ran on the field today and took some swings.
* Mitchell Boggs warmed up last night and would have come in the game in the 8th if the pitcher’s spot had come up in the bottom of the seventh. TLR said he’d still prefer to get Boggs one or two more low-leverage outings before really throwing him in the fire, but if the games don’t allow that, then the games don’t allow it.
* Tyler Greene will likely get a start over the weekend in San Francisco. He would play 2B against either Jonathan Sanchez on Friday or Barry Zito on Sunday. Greene is the only Cardinal hitter who has not started a game.
* ESPN announced that former Cardinal Mark Mulder will be doing some work on Baseball Tonight.
* Though TLR said yesterday that David Freese could have started today, in the end it was Daniel Descalso who got the call at 3B. The plan all along has been for Freese to play two out of three in the early going, so this isn’t a setback but rather just a case of staying with the plan.
And, finally, the playlist:
Letters to Cleo, “From Under the Dust”
New Order, “Elegia”
The Knife, “Neverland”
Nina Gordon, “Horses in the City”
R.E.M., “Gardening At Night”
* A clearly still recovering Matt Holliday spoke to reporters in the clubhouse on Monday afternoon. Though his spirits were good and his sense of humor was certainly intact, it was not at all hard to tell that Holliday had undergone a medical procedure recently. He should be fine before long, but he had the look and sound of someone recuperating.
Holliday told us that he has asked the club to keep him off the disabled list if at all possible, and as of now he has not been DL’d. He’s hoping to accompany the Cardinals on their upcoming western road trip. I’ll have a story on all of this on the site before too terribly long.
* Jaime Garcia was named co-Player of the Week in the National League along with Starlin Castro for his shutout yesterday.
* Nick Punto continues to come along well. He participated in pretty much all of the afternoon work, and said he’s feeling quite good. Once he’s cleared to play, he’ll still need a bit of time on a Minor League rehab, since he’s taken exactly zero at-bats against anybody other than his teammates all spring.
* It’s not the nicest day at the ballpark — the sign in the bullpen currently reads 46 degrees — but there’s no rain, the sun is threatening to poke through in a few places and it appears we’re going to get a game in.
* Mitchell Boggs is likely not live tonight if they can avoid it, and ideally TLR would prefer not to use Jason Motte either. But Motte is more in play than Boggs.
* The Cardinals still have yet to announce their starters for the weekend in San Francisco, but the best guess is they’ll just roll everybody over, so it would be Westbrook on Friday, Garcia on Saturday and Lohse on Sunday.
* Gerald Laird will likely get a start either tomorrow or Wednesday, which would leave Tyler Greene as the only non-pitcher on the roster not to start a game.
* As I noted in the lineup post, the pitcher is back in the No. 9 hole today. TLR explained that one factor in that decision is the availability of a hitter who is a good fit to hit seventh. He wouldn’t mind hitting Schumaker ninth, he said. But that would leave Yadier Molina batting seventh, and La Russa has been consistent in expressing his desire to have a faster runner than Molina in front of the pitcher’s spot.
And, finally, the playlist:
Cold War Kids, “Royal Blue”
Radiohead, “Lotus Flower”
Telekinesis, “Please Ask For Help”
Buffalo Tom, “Guilty Girls”
* Nick Punto returned to camp Monday, his first day back after having surgery to repair his sports hernia. Punto is walking reasonably well, but that’s all he’s really allowed to do at this point. He also seemed to be in good spirits.
Baseball has a few set-in-stone rules, some of which are widely known to most fans and some of which are not. One that may be less well-known is this: service time trumps just about anything else.