Yesterday came news on two guys that the Cardinals could really use right now, but both find themselves on the Disabled List.
First and foremost, Jon Jay. Over at Cardinals.com, it was mentioned that Jay participated on Friday in his first workout since being placed on the disabled list on May 16th. He hit off a tee and did some soft toss. According to Jay, he is hoping to rejoin the team on the road trip that begins this week. And according to Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak, he should be ready within a couple days of becoming eligible to come off the DL, which would be Wednesday. So hopefully next weekend we will have our starting center fielder back.
Jay, 27, is one of the top-5 center fielders in baseball when he’s healthy. He was hitting .343 with a .395 OBP when he went down with his injury, a sprained right shoulder. Continue reading
The Cardinals are expected to place Kyle McClellan and Allen Craig on the disabled list tomorrow before they open play against the Los Angeles Dodgers, that according to Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
McClellan, 27, has a 4.42 ERA in 15 appearances out of the bullpen this season, but has allowed 4 runs in his last 4 innings on the mound over his last 3 appearances. He left in the seventh inning of today’s game against the Giants with right elbow pain. His is expected to be a longer stint.
Craig, also 27, has a .373 batting average with 5 HR and 19 RBI in the 13 games he’s played since coming off the disabled list on May 1st. He apparently injured his left hamstring during Wednesday night’s game against the Giants. According to Strauss, the team has sent him back to St. Louis for further examination. Craig, though, seemed confident that it would be just a couple days to recover. Continue reading
It was a busy day for the St. Louis Cardinals on a transaction front. The team announced that they have released LHP J.C. Romero and recalled RHP Eduardo Sanchez. In an unrelated move, the team released minor league outfielder Amaury Cazana.
Romero, 35, signed a $750,000 deal with the Cardinals as the second left handed reliever out of the bullpen. He spent time with four different organizations in 2011 and likely was hoping for some security where he could settle in and rebuild his value. For the first month of the season, he looked to be well on his way to doing just that. Over 8 appearances he pitched 4 2/3 innings allowing 4 hits and no runs. However it all went downhill from there. In his last 3 appearances, totaling 3 1/3 innings he allowed 10 hits and 9 runs, all earned.
In his place, the Cardinals will call up reliever Eduardo Sanchez. Sanchez, 23, impressed in 2011, posting a 1.80 ERA over 30 innings. He even got a chance to close for the Cardinals before he began struggling with control issues. The Cardinals cut him during Spring Training to give him an opportunity to work on his mechanics and control, now he’s back with improvements made, says the organization.
Yesterday I tackled my April Grades for the Cardinals’ position players and today I will tackle the grades for the Cardinals’ pitching staff and the manager. Chris Carpenter is still out and we’ve kind of forgotten that he even exists with how great the staff has been so far in 2012.
Manager Mike Matheny – Matheny was my #1 choice to take over for Tony La Russa after he announced his retirement. We’ve long heard about his potential as a manager. However, I didn’t really like that he had zero managerial experience. It’s something I held heavily against Jose Oquendo. But I felt that Matheny always had the ability to be a good manager, and so far he has been.
It’s hard to take over for a probable future Hall of Fame manager, but he has and he’s done it by making it into his own team. Over the last few years, I felt that the Cardinals had strayed from that “Play Like a Cardinal” ideal and become flat with their on field play. This year, I see some excitement. I see some of that baseball that I recall seeing earlier in La Russa’s tenure coming back. It’s a fun time to be a Cardinals’ fan. Grade: A.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have purchased the contract of Scott Linebrink, the final step required to make him a member of their 25-man roster for Opening Day. It was a move that was expected after the Cardinals’ had sent RHP Eduardo Sanchez to minor league camp where he is expected to start the season with the Memphis Redbirds. With the move, the Cardinals are now at 40 men on their 40 man roster, likely having alternative effects on other jobs.
Linebrink, 35, just misses out on being the oldest man on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster this year. LHP J.C. Romero is two months older to the day and Lance Berkman takes the honor at six months older than Linebrink. Berkman turned 36 on February 10th, interestingly enough, the day that Linebrink was signed by the Cardinals’ to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.
In 2011, Linebrink was 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA in 54 1/3 innings with the Atlanta Braves. He expected to get more phone calls from teams than he did get, but ultimately chose the Cardinals as his best option. The question in many teams’ minds, I think, was the 6.17 ERA he posted after returning from a DL stint last August. However, he did have a 2.95 ERA when he went on the DL in July.
The Cardinals added some minor league depth on Wednesday when they announced the addition of utility man Eugenio Velez and left handed pitcher R.J. Swindle.
Velez, 29, is potentially most noteworthy for his -77 OPS+ he posted last season thanks to going hitless in 40 plate appearances. A switch hitter, his best season came in 2009 for the San Francisco Giants where he put together a line of .267/.308/.400 in 84 games. He has played second base and all three outfield positions in his major league career between the Giants and the Dodgers.
Swindle, 28, last pitched in the major leagues in 2009 for the Milwaukee Brewers. In two seasons, he has thrown a total of 11 1/3 innings at the major league level and has compiled a 12.71 ERA. Last season with the Durham Bulls, Tampa’s Triple-A affiliate, he made 39 appearances and posted a 4.15 ERA. He does have a career 2.37 ERA in the minor leagues and could be considered as one of the Cardinals’ alternate options should J.C. Romero struggle in St. Louis this season. He is most notable for a 55 mph curveball he throws.
Both signings are simply minor league depth at this point.