I've been here in Jupiter since March 1...about 10 days now. The good news is that the pitchers are looking pretty good.
The staff probably projects right now as follows: Morris, Williams
(seems to be coming around), Carpenter, Suppan, Marquis, Benes (LaRussa
is VERY high on him), Simontacchi, Tavarez, King, Kline, and Isringhausen.
The young pitching prospects (Hawksworth, Haren, Wainwright, Narveson,
Journell, Johnson, and Parrott) are all looking good too but will likely pitch in
the minors this year given LaRussa and Duncan's preference for experienced
I think Hart may have a leg up for Vina's spot and Butler (has shown versatility by playing second, short, and third) may be Cairo's replacement. Anderson hasn't done much so far. None of these guys are going to be mistaken for Joe Morgan in his prime. Or even Tommy Herr or Vina for that matter.
There are rumors that the Cards may try to trade pitching to improve the top of their batting order between now and the end of spring training. As far as leftfield is concerned, Robinson and Taguchi seem determined to play themselves off of the 25 man roster. I think Lankford and Quinn will stick. They both look good. Just a few of my early observations/opinions.
Will be in touch!
Mark Quinn's home run earned him another start in today's game.
"Downtown Brown" does it again - Monday, The Cardinals scored four runs in the ninth inning off Jose Diaz, three of which came on an Emil Brown homer. Brown had two of St. Louis' seven hits. All in another loss, dropping the Cardinals down to 0-6 for spring training games.
Ray Lankford - the old Ray played today, went 2 for 4 and stole a base. He's now 3 for 8. We are projecting Ray will make the team if the Cardinals go with 11 pitchers and two catchers to start the season.
Alan Benes. Early in Sunday’s KMOX broadcast, Mike Shannon and Wayne Hagin reported that Tony La Russa told them that Alan Benes could make the team even if he doesn’t pitch as well as many others. They identified Benes as a La Russa favorite.
Walton’s take: We all take favorites, but I am not sure I like the manager stating this prior to even seeing Benes pitch in a game. In Benes’ favor, he pitched two scoreless innings Sunday vs. the Expos.
Mileur's take: It comes as no surprise to me, that you don't have to play winning baseball to be a part of a LaRussa Cardinal team. But I hope Benes can make it back and contribute to this team. Hopefully all the games will start on time.
Chris Carpenter - lasting two innings against the Orioles in his 2004 Spring Training debut. We are looking for good things out of Carpenter. Woody Williams has even said that Carpenter has Morris type stuff. That will do.
Jeff Suppan - started for the Cardinals Monday and threw three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit. Remember Jeff was our first choice to add to the rotation this off season, considering the money. We called him the best bang for the buck. Suppan and Sanders may both prove to be moves that will have the most impact this season in the NL Central.
Walt Jocketty, the Cardinals GM says the team's young pitching is the best
it has been since manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan
arrived in October 1995. Jocketty calls RHP Adam Wainwright "the real
deal" and recently thanked Braves GM John Schuerholz again for including
him in the J.D. Drew trade. RHP Dan Haren, LHP Chris Narveson and RHP
Rhett Parrott also have made strong impressions. The Cardinals could use their depth to acquire a second baseman or left fielder, but the team also needs insurance for its dubious rotation.
Jason Marquis - has earned a spot in the Cardinals' rotation, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Marquis is in the rotation. We're getting him ready to start the season. We don't think we have five (starters) better than him," said manager Tony La Russa.
Matt Morris - don't panic yet, he is working on his change up and he was tipping his pitches which can be corrected. In addition we are sending him a watch, so he will know what time it is. He is schedule to start Wednesday.
Dan Haren - CREATiVESPORTS.com's Marc Meltzer sent me this report about Danny Haren's Thursday outing. "Dan Haren was awesome today for the Cards, except for one bad pitch to Phillips. Their young pitchers were also impressive today." - Brian Walton
Jason Ryan - From the Post Dispatch - Ryan impresses - Righthander Jason Ryan, who led the Pacific Coast League in earned-run average at 2.70 last year with Class AAA Memphis, appeared for the first time as a Cardinal. He fanned five in three innings and allowed a run. "He deserves a look and he'll get it," LaRussa said. Duncan said Ryan "changed speeds well and had some movement on the ball."
We have been telling the Cardinals this since last June. We are very happy to see Ryan is at least getting a chance now.
Adam Wainwright - went two innings, giving up three runs on three hits with three walks, in Friday's game.
Woody Williams - Worked out Tuesday and threw 35 pitches to hitters on one of the back fields at the Roger Dean Stadium complex. His control was off some.
Steve Kline has been diagnosed with gout in his right foot, a condition that affects him every spring, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is expected to work out today.
Jason Simontacchi has been bothered lately by blisters on the back of both hands. The Cardinals think the blisters are caused by anti-inflammatory medicine he's been taking.
Rick Ankiel could pitch from a mound by May and possibly go on a rehab assignment in July. He's recovering from Tommy John surgery. Rick thinks he will be back with the Cardinals by August.
The Bullpen - LaRussa believes his bullpen this season, may be the best bullpen he has ever had. We concur, hoping it will help save the wear and tear on our starters this season.
Kerry Robinson batting lead-off? Let me put this in perspective for you, Lee Sinins reports, in 2004, Robinson, tied the major league record, among OF, for the most consecutive years (3) with an OPS at least 100 points below average, with 100+ games. Now I'm a strong one on the positive thinking thing, but Kerry has a way to go.