It was a very busy day for the scribes today, with lots of developments coming out of our morning chat with TLR. Some of it has already been covered here and on the site: Kyle McClellan is moving to the bullpen, which clears the way for Garcia to start. And Chris Carpenter will start Opening Day, with Adam Wainwright starting the home opener seven days later.
We got a lot of rain this morning, but it’s tailed off and we got a game in. Still overcast, with a forecast for clear, slightly cooler days between now and the end of camp.
* Blake Hawksworth has some soreness in his right groin that has bothered him for the past five days. He first felt it when he was pitching on Wednesday against the Orioles. He stayed in that game, and pitched again three days later, but it flared up in that Saturday appearance and he’s currently sidelined.
Still, Hawksworth doesn’t sound too worried. He’s been able to do his cardiovascular exercises, with the only real remaining hurdle being pushing off his right leg when he pitches.
“I was on the elliptical,” he said. “I’m still able to run. I’m not, like, [incapacitated]. We just want to give it a couple of days. I pitched that day and got through it. It was fine. we just want to be careful to make sure it doesn’t become worse.
“Yesterday, not doing anything, I made so much improvement. So just take it light today, and tomorrow hopefully it will be a lot better again.”
Hawksworth was not listed as an available reliever on Monday’s lineup card.
* There’s not really anything new on Yadier Molina, except that he’s a little better every day. TLR did say that he’d be willing to wait all the way up to Opening Day before making a decision on Molina. He said the catcher wouldn’t have to swing a bat until that very day, and he could still be on the roster.
“I think there’s still a real chance [he could play Opening Day],” La Russa said. “That’s what the training staff told me, that there’s still a chance. He’s feeling better.”
The Cardinals will likely take four catchers to Minnesota: Molina, Jason LaRue, Matt Pagnozzi and an emergency/bullpen catcher.
* Ryan Ludwick is back in the lineup today, a day after fouling a ball hard off his left shin.
* The manager was asked this morning whether the remaining bench decision is 3 player for 2 spots, or 2 players for 1 spot. He said it’s 3-for-2, meaning that he does not consider Mather to be safely on the team yet. This isn’t a surprise, and I still consider Mather’s chances excellent.
But publicly, it’s still down to Mather, Allen Craig and Nick Stavinoha for two roster spots.
* TLR acknowledged that there’s a good chance that against many right-handers this year, the middle of the lineup will be ordered like it is today: Holliday fourth, Rasmus fifth, Ludwick sixth. I like that a lot, personally. I think it’s a good way to set it up, with Lopez or Ryan or Lugo in the 2-spot, and Molina/Freese 7th-8th in one order or the other.
* As for McClellan, he was clearly disappointed not to be starting, but also very graceful in his handling of it.
“The writing has been kind of on the wall the last few days,” he said. “As well as Jaime’s pitched all spring, it’s been pretty obvious that with him on our staff, in our rotation, it’s going to be a very solid rotation. And I can go back to the bullpen and improve on what I’ve done the last two years.”
* General Hal Moore, the central figure in the movie “We Were Soldiers” (and of course the book of similar title on which it was based), made his annual visit to Cardinals camp today. He’s a favorite of TLR’s as well as the players.
And that’s all the baseball for today. Time for the playlist.
The Hold Steady, “Rock Problems”
The Hold Steady, “Hurricane J”
New Pornographers, “The Crash Years”
Drive-By Truckers, “Working This Job”
Gorillaz, “Stylo” (Love. This. Song.)