Results tagged ‘ Rick Ankiel ’

Division Series Game 1 tidbits: Schumaker, Rasmus, Ankiel, Boggs, Hawksworth

Greetings from gorgeous Dodger Stadium. It’s an absolutely perfect night at the ballpark, dusk just settling in. Had some fantastic Cuban food for lunch (Versailles, on Venice — highly recommended) and now we’re settling in for a ballgame. Life is good.

* Despite some speculation to the contrary, TLR went with Skip Schumaker at second base and Colby Rasmus in center field tonight against Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf. It’s the team’s best defensive lineup, rather than having Lugo at second base.

Here’s La Russa on the two calls:

“It really came down to Colby or Rick in center. And I think Colby earned the start. Rick’s close. We have a good team, [so] we have a choice to make. And at second, we’ve gone with Lugo a lot against left-handers and I would expect maybe tomorrow [he'll play]; we’ll see how today goes.  I felt like Schu was a good matchup for Wolf, and Julio has struggled against Wolf. In fact, quite a few of our guys have.”

For what it’s worth, Lugo is 1-for-8 against Wolf and Schumaker is 0-for-3. Rasmus is 3-for-5, which may be the real key to the equation in TLR’s mind. One other thing: I think there’s at least a perception that Wolf is not a lefty-killer in the same way that Kershaw is. However, Wolf has a much bigger split this year than Kershaw, and is absolutely obliterating left-handed hitters.

Still, personally, I like the lineup. I’ve already gone on record saying that in the playoffs, I think the defensive downgrade to Lugo isn’t worth whatever offensive edge you may get against a LHP. We’ll see.

* Also within the outfield mix, of course, is Rick Ankiel. TLR was asked in his pregame news conference today about Ankiel’s pinch-hitting success, and he acknowledged that it factors into his decision making. It’s only 26 plate appearances, but Ankiel is batting .273 with a .385 OBP and .591 SLG as a pinch-hitter this year.

* Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth secured the last two spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen when the roster was announced today. The manager’s answer when asked about the decisions was, I thought, revealing. He basically indicated that Hawksworth was all but automatic, and Boggs was the one guy who was maybe a close call.

“I don’t know who you would define as the last two,” he said when asked about the decision on the final two roster spots. I think Boggs is probably one of the two, I’m not sure who the other one would be. … And as far as the other one, we really had a tough call.  We’d have had a really tough call to go 11, because Hawksworth has done a good job, McClellan and Motte been part of what we do. So really going to 12 pitchers made us not to have to make a decision on Boggs versus one of the other young guys.”

Tonight’s playlist certainly suits where I am mentally, and I hope all of y’all are too. It’s let’s-get-it-going music. If you think some of it is cheesy, well, sorry.

U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Rolling Stones, “Start Me Up”
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Greene, Ankiel, Rasmus, DeRosa

Wow, just an amazing night at Busch Stadium, game time temperature in the mid-80s but feels even nicer than that.

* Khalil Greene is coming along nicely and could be activated soon.

“He’s getting his work in,” John Mozeliak said. “He’s feeling good and we’re going to revisit it this weekend. There’s a chance that we’ll contemplate activating him shortly.”

* The Cardinals started an unusual outfield tonight, with Holliday in left, Ludwick in center and Stavinoha in right — part of an all-right-handed lineup. That’s in part due to Clayton Kershaw’s splits — lefties are hitting 174/253/233 against him. And it’s in part due to Rick Ankiel’s recovery from a mild groin strain.

“I was thinking be really careful today and he’d be OK tomorrow,” TLR said. “He said he feels really good today. But I still would like to… try not to use him. But he feels majorly improved.”

The skipper said if he’d started a left-hander in center, it would have been Schumaker. Rasmus is recovering pretty well, but TLR didn’t want him in against a guy like Kershaw. He also quipped that when Ludwick got a little cocky about playing center field, he knocked Ludwick down a bit by pointing out that it’s only because Pineiro is a groundball pitcher.

(NOTE: this was in jest, please spare the “TLR won’t let them have any fun” or whatever.)

* As for Rasmus, he discussed his recurring heel soreness with B.J. Rains and a couple of other scribes this afternoon.

“You can’t rest it, or give it enough rest to where it will go away,” Rasmus said. “It feels good now. I just have to deal with it until the offseason when it goes away. It’s just like a bone bruise, a deep bruise down to the bone.

“It just depends. Sometimes I feel it when I’m running, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I feel it when I’m hitting, sometimes I won’t. It’s kind of hit or miss.”

* Also from the shedding-light-on-injuries category, Mark DeRosa talked some about his left wrist this afternoon.

“I wouldn’t say it’s behind me,” he said. “I’ll re-assess it at the end of the year. I feel it every time I swing, but it’s not very painful. It’s just a strange feeling. I can’t even explain it. It’s like my knuckles are cracking when I hit the ball. That’s what it feels like. It’s something I’ve gotten used to in the last two or three weeks, and as long as it’s not affecting me on the field, it’s not a problem.”

* This was passed along to me by a couple of people, so I figured I’d pass it along to y’all:

The St. Louis Cardinals & Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society will host over 100 kids from the Redbird Rookies baseball league, sponsored by Cardinals Care at Busch Stadium on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon as part of the team’s 2009 P.L.A.Y. (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign. Cardinals head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg and staff, along with a current Cardinals player, will run drills and participate in a Q&A session.  The P.L.A.Y. program was created in 2004 to educate children about the importance of living active and healthy lifestyles.

Today’s playlist:
Better Than Ezra, “Desperately Wanting” (saw them last weekend, v.good show)
Tegan and Sara, “Back in Your Head”
Sonic Youth, “Incinerate” (saw them a couple weeks ago, terrific show)
Radiohead, “Paranoid Android”
R.E.M., “Binky the Doormat”

-M.

Sunday tidbits: Ankiel, Glaus, Freese, tunes

So, uh, hi, everybody. My name’s Matthew Leach. A long time ago, I covered the Cardinals for MLB.com. And now do again. Got a little break after the All-Star Game, but it’s back in the saddle again.

* Rick Ankiel got his MRI results back, and according to TLR, “he’s got some issues” but is cleared to play. The manager acknowledged that whatever Ankiel is dealing with in his right shoulder, it’s likely affecting his swing. But he said that it’s his understanding that a bit of simple rest wouldn’t solve the issue.

* We talked to the skipper a little more about Troy Glaus playing the outfield, and he said he feels that a questionable thrower can be shielded much more effectively in left field than at third base. “There are a lot of [terrible]-throwing outfielders that have been world champions,” he said.

* David Freese got back in a game for the first time in two months on Sunday. He went 1-for-2 at the plate, and in the field he started two double plays in three innings at third base.

* TLR explained the decision yesterday to have Kinney issue the IBB, rather than leaving Miller in to do it, then making the move. He fully expected Haren to hit for himself. But IF the Diamondbacks had gone to Chad Tracy as a pinch-hitter, then Kinney could have been lifted for Reyes, because Kinney would already have faced one batter.

* And, for those who care, I was able to deduce many of the Cardinals’ walkup songs yesterday. A few are pretty obvious (Ludwick, for example). Here are ones that were not:

Skip Schumaker: “Know What I’m Doin’,” by Birdman featuring Lil Wayne
Colby Rasmus: “D.A.N.C.E.,” by Justice (this is a new one for him)
Albert Pujols: “The Professional,” by Canton Jones featuring Joey
Yadier Molina: “Ahora Es,” by Wisin and Yandel
Nick Stavinoha, “I Don’t Wanna Stop,” by Ozzy Osbourne
Mark DeRosa, “Shoot to Thrill,” by AC/DC

-M.

Sunday evening tidbits: K.Greene moving to his right

It’s another lovely night in Cleveland, following a terrific day. Your faithful correspondent, joined by friend/colleague/competitor D.Goold of the Post-Dispatch, made an afternoon run to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and it was again excellent. Highly recommended.

* Khalil Greene will return to Memphis to get some work at third base. TLR was a bit cagey about the whole thing, but there was this quote that laid it out pretty starkly: “When he’s ready to get here as a player, he needs to be ready to play third base.”

The Cardinals have understandably been pleased with what they’ve been getting from the shortstop position with Greene out. This allows them to keep playing Brendan Ryan (and perhaps Tyler Greene, depending on what move they decide to make once K.Greene is activated), while also providing another option at third base.

* Kyle Lohse began a throwing program today, playing catch from about 90 feet. He said he’s almost entirely symptom-free in his recovery from a right forearm injury. He’ll keep ramping up his throwing as long as he feels good, but no date has even been set for a throw off the mound, never mind a return to game action.

* The Cardinals won’t get any favors when the Tigers come to town later this week. Detroit will roll out three imposing starting pitchers: Justin Verlander on Tuesday, Edwin Jackson on Wednesday and Rick Porcello (remember him?) on Thursday.

* Bill Lubinger of the Cleveland Plain Dealer had a piece on Dave Duncan run today, and it’s worth checking out for Duncan’s insights on many of the great pitchers who have worked with him. It even includes a video interview. Follow this link to give it a look.

* Welcome to the newest blogger with the Cardinals: Rick Ankiel. The first entry in his new MLBlog went up today, and you can visit Rick’s blog by following this link.

* Time for my periodic reminder, while we’re linking to things. I talk ball over at Twitter. Follow me there at Twitter.com/MatthewHLeach.

Today’s playlist, with a RnRHoF theme:
U2, “Bad” (saw the handwritten lyric sheet, perhaps my favorite thing in the whole place)
Bruce Springsteen, “Badlands” (saw the same thing for this song, my OTHER favorite thing)
Rolling Stones, “Gimme Shelter”
The Clash, “London Calling”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”

-M.

Sunday tidbits: Ank sits

Greetings from Shea, where I won’t mind if I never cover another game. Hurry up, Citi Field!

* Rick Ankiel is out of the starting lineup with an abdominal strain, which he sustained last night. Not much word on the severity yet, whether he could pinch-hit or anything like that.

* I haven’t gotten a final word on Chris Carpenter’s bullpen session today, but by all accounts, it’s a formality. He’s starting Wednesday.

* The weather is OK for now, but the reports are that it could be hit-and-miss all afternoon. Something popping up here or there.

* TLR reiterated today that he thinks that both Isringhausen and Franklin are “distracted” by questions about roles and whatnot. I asked him what could be done, and he said talk it through with them. Derrick Goold followed by asking whether a flat-out declaration might accomplish that, and TLR made one.

“When Franklin’s fresh, he’s the guy that gets the ninth inning. We’ll try to keep him as fresh as we can. He’s the best guy we have for that role.”

-M.

Wednesday evening tidbits: Pujols, Ankiel out

Greetings from Nationals Park, where evidently at least one more line of storms is on the way. If you’re settling in to watch the game, be prepared for a long night.

* Pujols is out at least tonight with discomfort in his left calf. TLR says best case scenario is that he’ll be back Friday in Houston, while Pujols hopes to play tomorrow. Dicey weather here mens Friday under the roof is a much better bet, it would seem.

* Ankiel is also out, probably for a couple of days, because he’s come down with an infection in his scraped right knee. He was sent back to the hotel after he was checked out and treated.

* STL lineup: Ryan 3B, Barton LF, Mather CF, Ludwick RF, Glaus 1B, Molina C, Miles 2B, Wellemeyer P, Izturis SS. Yes, that is correct — he flipped Mather and Ludwick in the outfield today.

-M.

Tuesday afternoon tidbits: Skip sits

Very strange sight here — gray skies over downtown San Diego. I don’t think the game is in any jeopardy, but it’s definitely a bit jarring. Anyway, here are this afternoon’s tidbits:

* The starting outfield is Duncan LF, Ludwick CF, Barton RF. H’s going with a mostly righty-heavy lineup because Maddux has a pronounced reverse split this year. Also, Schumaker is dealing with a minor left heel problem. He insists it’s nothing.

* Ankiel is again not playing; TLR said probably the weekend for him.

* I saw some speculation in places about Carpenter. According to Barry Weinberg (via Brian Bartow), Carp threw a bullpen yesterday and felt good, and will throw a sim game on Monday (i.e., 6 days from now).

* Ryker Kile, Darryl Kile’s son, paid a visit to the park today and particularly sought out Pujols, who was of course glad to welcome him.

* STL lineup: Barton RF, Duncan LF, Pujols 1B, Ludwick CF, Glaus 3B, Molina C, Kennedy 2B, Pineiro P, Izturis SS.

* SD lineup: Gerut CF, Iguchi 2B, Giles RF, Gonzalez 1B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Greene SS, Hairston LF, Carlin C, Maddux P.

-M.

Monday afternoon tidbits: Anks still out

Greetings from “America’s Finest City” — though I really don’t need to put it in quotes. Not only is it a nickname, it’s a true description. And it sounds like lots of you see it that way, since my flight this morning was filled with folks coming out from STL for these games.

* Rick Ankiel is making progress but still not playing. He’s hopeful that we’re only talking about a couple more days.

* Troy Glaus and Chris Duncan were outside PETCO Park, signing autographs, when the explosion took place at the Hilton construction site a couple of blocks away. They said it was very loud and very jarring, even from the players’ entrance to the ballpark. Both said they could feel a concussion blast hit them as well as hearing the explosion. Thankfully it sounds like everyone survived, although some of the injuries were pretty significant. Best wishes to everyone who was hurt. No Cardinals personnel were injured in the blast.

* I’ll have something on Mike Parisi’s adjustment to relief and to big league life later this evening.

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

* Toot-my-own-horn dept.: I actually have copies of my book in hand. It really does exist. Not in stores yet, and Amazon still lists it as a pre-order, but it does exist. Very exciting stuff.

* Shameless plug dept.: I’ll be on “the Press Box” with Frank Cusumano tomorrow morning at I believe noon CT (that’s morning out here).

-M.

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