Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

Saturday lineup; tidbits to follow

Lineups for Saturday

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Lopez RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Mather CF
8. LaRue C
9. Penny RHP
1. Coghlan LF
2. Maybin CF
3. Ramirez SS
4. Cantu 3B
5. Uggla 2B
6. Baker C
7. Stanton RF
8. Sanchez 1B
9. Hensley RHP
Minor Leaguers up as extra bodies for the Cardinals today: Cutler, Descalso, Henley, Cazana, Solano

Roster math

No tidbits for you today, since they pretty much made it all onto the site in various forms. But I wanted to expound some on something I wrote regarding the cuts today.

The roster math is shaping up quite a bit, especially on the pitching side. There is exactly one pitching decision to be made: who will be the fifth starter.
When Fernando Salas and Pete Parise, two dark-horse roster candidates, were cut, it narrowed things down a great deal. For one thing, it cemented Mitchell Boggs’ and Blake Hawksworth’s places on the roster. Six relievers are now set: Ryan Franklin, Jason Motte, Boggs, Hawksworth, Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. That’s in addition to the four starters who are set: Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse.
That’s 10 pitchers. No. 11 will be Kyle McClellan, either as the 11th reliever or the fifth starter. And from there, you answer the other question.
If McClellan is the fifth starter, then Adam Ottavino almost certainly becomes the seventh reliever. If Jaime Garcia or Rich Hill is the fifth starter, then McClellan is the seventh reliever.
A trade is possible. Rich Hill going to the bullpen is, distantly, possible. But in all reality, it comes down to that decision: McClellan to start and Ottavino to relieve, or one of the lefties to start and McClellan to relieve.
Elsewhere on the roster, the two catchers are of course set. You knew seven infielders and outfielders were set: Pujols, Schumaker, Ryan, Lopez, Holliday, Rasmus, Ludwick. But it’s become clear that so are two others: Freese and Mather. Mather is the backup center fielder. That’s pretty much done.
So then you’re looking at two other questions. One, what they do with the middle infield. If no trade materializes for Julio Lugo, then Lugo will very likely be on and Tyler Greene off — assuming Lugo is healthy. If Lugo can’t play, Greene makes the team.
It’s very difficult to envision Jon Jay making the team, though he’s still here so he hasn’t been eliminated yet. But if Jay is out, and I believe he will be, then the other remaining question is Stavinoha versus Craig. I believe Craig has the upper hand, but I also believe it’s not set in stone.
Really, though, on March 22, we have a surprisingly clear idea of how the roster will shake down.
Today’s playlist:
The Hold Steady, “Hurricane J”
That’s it, that’s today’s playlist. I’ve listened to it about 5 times already.

Pujols scratched due to tight lower back

Albert Pujols was initially slated to play in the Cardinals’ Monday afternoon game at home against the Red Sox, but instead has been scratched due to a recurrence of tightness in his lower back. 

Manager Tony La Russa confirmed on Monday morning that Pujols has been scratched as a result of the issue. La Russa had said on Sunday that Pujols would play in Monday’s game, and Pujols came back with the team following a Sunday contest on the road against the Braves — a game that was rained out in the second inning.
Pujols reported to the park on Monday morning but was not in the lineup on a rainy day as a result of the tightness. In his absence, scheduled third-base starter Ruben Gotay moved to first base and Donovan Solano started at third base.

Updated Monday home lineup

Updated lineup for the Cardinals’ home game against Boston:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Holliday (no position listed — LF or DH)
4. Rasmus CF
5. LaRue C
6. Jay RF
7. Gotay 1B
8. Henly LF or DH
9. Solano 3B

Sunday Spring Training tidbits

They only played one-plus inning here at Champion Stadium before the skies opened up and forced the game to be called, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have plenty of news. A good bit of it I’ve already covered elsewhere on the blog and the site, so be sure to check it all out, but a few tidbits are still left over.

* First, more weather. The forecast calls for a lot of rain in the morning in Jupiter, then tailing off in the afternoon, so a game seems likely but far from certain. I have to think they considered the weather in setting up the assignments, with many of the stars playing in Jupiter and Brad Penny going back down there, so I thus have to think that the team is confident that the game will be played.
* Julio Lugo, who is recuperating from a groin strain, is not in either lineup for tomorrow. I hope to update his condition tomorrow morning, but this does seem to be a little further behind than they initially hoped.
* Wednesday’s game will be started by either Rich Hill or Kyle McClellan, and both will pitch that day. But as for which one will start, that’s not determined. TLR said this morning that it would likely be Hill, but Dave Duncan said it had not been settled yet.
* The staff continues to refuse to acknowledge the relatively obvious, that Chris Carpenter is on track to be the Opening Day starter. Carpenter is scheduled to pitch on Thursday, with Adam Wainwright on Friday, which would put them on track to pitch the first two games.
However, the option does exist to get a bit creative, because each of them still gets one extra day of rest between now and Opening Day. If they stay on an every-fifth-day during Spring Training, then take the extra day between their last spring starts and their first regular-season starts, they would repeatedly face the same teams, which is not ideal. So don’t be surprised if there’s a little re-jiggering in the next couple of weeks.
Today’s playlist consists entirely of gems that were played here today at Champion Stadium:
Rolling Stones, “Dance Little Sister”
The Band, “Up On Cripple Creek”
Al Green, “Tired Of Being Alone”
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Free Bird”
Jimi Hendrix, “All Along the Watchtower”

Sunday lineups; tidbits to follow

Lineups for today’s Cardinals-Heywards, I mean Braves, game at Champion Stadium:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Pujols 1B
4. Rasmus CF
5. Lopez 3B
6. Molina C
7. Stavinoha RF
8. Mather LF
9. Penny RHP
1. Cabrera LF
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Glaus 1B
6. Escobar SS
7. Heyward RF
8. Blanco CF
9. Jurrjens RHP

Opening Day roster projection, first guess

It’s time for an annual game that I usually start playing earlier in the spring. But I’m gone for the next couple of days (old friend’s wedding), so this seems like a good discussion piece to leave in the interim. This is an informed guess. I may be right, I may be wrong, but it’s my best guess as of right now.

Starting Pitchers (5)
Chris Carpenter
Adam Wainwright
Brad Penny
Kyle Lohse
Kyle McClellan
Relief Pitchers (7)
Ryan Franklin
Jason Motte
Mitchell Boggs
Blake Hawksworth
Dennys Reyes
Trever Miller
Fernando Salas (this spot will go to SOMEBODY who made the team in camp, IMO — unless, of course, Hill or Garcia starts and the last RH reliever is McClellan. But as of now I have McClellan in the rotation and Salas beating out a group that includes Josh Kinney and Pete Parise. VERY subject to change)
Catchers (2)
Yadier Molina
Jason LaRue
Infielders (6)
Albert Pujols
Skip Schumaker
Brendan Ryan
David Freese
Felipe Lopez
Julio Lugo
Outfielders (5)
Matt Holliday
Colby Rasmus
Ryan Ludwick
Allen Craig
Joe Mather

Salas forces his way into the picture

It’s unwise to put too much stock into Spring Training stats, with one notable exception. In Cardinals camp, appearances, innings and at-bats can tell you an awful lot.

Fernando Salas made his fifth appearance of the Grapefruit League season on Thursday, and once again he pitched well. It may have been his best showing to date, as the right-hander struck out three in two shutout innings.
He’s caught the attention of pitching coach Dave Duncan.
“You know why guys get a chance to pitch?” Duncan asked when Salas’ name was brought up. “Because they get people out. When they get people out, if the opportunity is there and there’s a choice to be made, the guy that’s going to be chosen is the guy that’s getting the results.”
So Salas keeps getting to pitch.
He’s still something of a long shot. Several spots in the Cardinals bullpen look relatively settled: closer Ryan Franklin, right-handers Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs and lefties Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. Blake Hawksworth’s spot as the long man appears relatively secure.
That still leaves one spot, though, and it’s likely a spot for a right-hander who pitches in short stints. Salas could be that pitcher.
“He’s got a chance,” manager Tony La Russa said. 
Said Duncan: “He’s got a two-seam fastball. He’s got a four-seam fastball. He’s got a nice little changeup. He’s got an inconsistent breaking ball. I’d like to see his breaking ball improve. He throws 90, 91 miles an hour. He’s not somebody who’s just out there. He’s got some weapons. I like him.”
(Photo by Danny Wild/

Boggs hunting for a consistent delivery

 Mitchell-Boggs.jpgMitchell Boggs has a chance this spring to win the most prominent role he’s yet had in the Major Leagues, but Boggs said on Thursday that his struggles in Grapefruit League play have had nothing to do with nerves. It’s simply a matter of ironing out his delivery, the right-hander said.

“I pitched in the playoffs last year, first time I’ve ever been in the bullpen,” Boggs said. “It’s got nothing to do with nerves. It’s got everything to do with being inconsistent with my delivery. Not getting in a consistent spot each and every pitch. that’s what I have to do. You walk the leadoff guy, he’s going to score. It’s got nothing to do with nerves. It’s got everything to do with execution.”
Boggs still has some time to get things sorted out with two weeks left in Spring Training. Pitching coach Dave Duncan remains a believer in what Boggs can offer the Cardinals’ bullpen, and he expects Boggs to get right. But Duncan acknowledged that the time is coming when Boggs needs to get straightened out.
“Boggs has a funky delivery that takes a while to get in a good rhythm with good timing to get good results,” Duncan said. “His stuff is great. He’s kind of like [Rich] Hill, his command is not what it needs to be yet. Both guys have deliveries that are troublesome.
“He’s got a lot going on. got a lot of movement in his delivery. I think he just finds a rhythm, and in spite of the fact that he’s got all these things going on, he’s able to get to a consistent release point. That’s why it takes him longer to get there.”
What’s fortunate for Boggs — but not ideal for the team — is not other relievers have not really dazzled to a point where Boggs’ roster spot or even his role might be in jeopardy. Boggs remains at least a candidate to seize the primary right-handed setup job for St. Louis.
But he needs to get right.
He allowed three hits and a walk on Thursday, but also struck out two. There were flashes, just not enough.
“The results weren’t what I wanted them to be or what I need them to be,” Boggs said. “I was just falling behind guys, which you can’t do. I’m striking guys out when I get ahead, making good pitches when I get ahead. But the guys I fall behind, I’m putting myself in a hole and you can’t do that. These guys are too good of hitters. When you put them in a count where they feel comfortable, they’re going to do damage. That’s what I did today, and that’s what I have to focus on getting better at.”
(Photo by Danny Wild/

Thursday Spring Training tidbits

It was another beautiful, if somewhat cool, day here in Jupiter. Very windy. Again. Lots of tidbits for you, and I’ll have two more entries going up on the blog later in the evening.

* Jaime Garcia, not Shelby Miller, will start Monday’s game in Kissimmee, while Kyle Lohse gets the home game against the Red Sox that day. I’ll have more on the fifth-starter situation later this evening.
* Monday sounds like a target day for Julio Lugo to get back to action, as well.
* Josh Kinney is scheduled to pitch tomorrow in Viera for the first time since he had an MRI and a cortisone shot on his right shoulder.
* Blake Hawksworth definitely took a step forward today. Dave Duncan said he was never really worried about Hawksworth despite some early difficulties. 
* Skip Schumaker said he’s certainly not thrilled about his slump (he’s 4-for-33 on the spring) but he’s not too worried. He rolled over a couple of balls to the right side today, which is out of character for a player who tends to hit liners to the left side.
He said part of the issue is that he’s trying to go to the left side, rather than just letting his natural stroke do what it does.
* Blog entries coming a little later this evening on Mitchell Boggs’ slump and Fernando Salas’ success.
* Among those headed to Viera tomorrow for the night half of the split-squad games: Kinney, Kyle McClellan, Lance Lynn, Jason LaRue, Matt Pagnozzi, Allen Craig, David Freese, Tyler Greene, Ruben Gotay, Pete Kozma, Jon Jay, Nick Stavinoha, Amaury Cazana Marti.
Today’s playlist comes all from my Twitter followers:
Drive-By Truckers, “Birthday Boy”
Uncle Tupelo, “The Long Cut”
Broken Bells, “The High Road”
Elbow, “Grounds For Divorce”
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”