The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals minor matters – April 1


Glaus out for a long time no matter what you call it

After the big summit meeting this morning that included the Cardinals, doctors and Troy Glaus, the “fresh approach” to treat the slow-to-heal muscle in his right shoulder was set.

Glaus is heading to Arizona to work with a physical therapist. The Cardinals announced the third baseman’s next medical check up would be scheduled around June 1. In case you missed it – that is two months from now.

Even if he would be ready then to pick up a bat and ball, most of June would be lost in rehabbing. Our original estimate of somewhere between June 1 and mid-season for Glaus’ return looks more and more accurate every day.

Glaus had begun to throw as well as hit from a tee but had to cease all baseball-related activities two weeks ago. Yet the Cardinals had recently been playing word games, insisting the recent problem was a “plateau” instead of a setback.

What would you call it when a mid-April return turns into a “sometime after June 1” estimate? How about “disappointing”?

Glaus himself said early in camp that his goal was to play in Florida and be ready to start the season. How about mid-season, Troy?


Knoedler upset

Assigned to Memphis in the first cuts of the spring, catcher Justin Knoedler was upset when he learned of his release Tuesday morning by checking the posted minor league rosters and noticing his name was missing.

The Cardinals must have had a mix-up as I know from personal experience that they do not release names to the media until after players have been contacted. I would imagine that also applies to posting rosters.

It is a shame for Knoedler, but that isn’t business-as-usual for the organization.


“Cardinals Backing Colby Rasmus into a Corner”

It is an interesting title, designed to grab reader attention, I guess. The whole focus of the P-D article is how Colby Rasmus, a centerfielder his entire career, is now being asked to play the corners as well.

I am not sure of the news here, as it has been going on all spring. Surely some of Rasmus’ defensive bumps in Florida have been due to playing left and right, but he needs to be versatile enough to handle all three positions if he wants to be a major leaguer, IMHO.


Redbirds sales lack energy

The Memphis paper appealed to local civic pride in asking residents to come out to games with the Cardinals on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Two years ago, the last time the Cards played there at AutoZone Park, attendance was over 15,000. Current pace is about half that.

Redbirds president Dave Chase implied the low level of activity over the winter by the MLB club is what is behind the slow sales, rather than the economy, as other local sports are still drawing well.

“This year it’s been so quiet. That same energy’s not there,” Chase told the Commercial-Appeal.

My take is that if there is no energy, then someone needs to create it. The Redbirds should have their best team in some time and are coming off a very good 2008 season.

Over on Scout.com this morning, I wrote about the Friday pitching match up of Chris Carpenter and P.J. Walters. If that won’t generate local interest, someone should check their collective pulse.

Update: Carpenter has been scratched from Friday’s start due to a mild and previously-unknown calf injury that does not put his game four start in jeopardy. Interesting. Walters will still start on Friday, but for St. Louis instead, against a bullpen crew for Memphis. Saturday is Joel Pineiro versus Mitchell Boggs.


Spivey’s comeback over

Second baseman Junior Spivey, attempting a comeback after apparently being out of baseball last year, was released by the New York Mets from their minor league camp on Tuesday. He played for Memphis in 2006.

2008 Cardinals left-handed reliever Ron Villone was released by the Mets earlier in the week.


Ludwick an anomaly

I ran across an interesting article in the Palm Beach Post that says only 21 players who hit right-handed and throw left-handed have appeared in MLB over the last 40 years since baseball split into divisions.

Two of them are active today and both are outfielders currently training in Jupiter, Florida – Cody Ross of the Florida Marlins and Ryan Ludwick of the Cardinals.


Yadi hitting second – not an April Fool’s joke

Tony La Russa told MLB.com that he might consider continuing to use Yadier Molina in the number two spot in his batting order during the regular season. Given Molina’s lack of foot speed, it seems a most odd choice to hit him behind leadoff man Skip Schumaker and in front of Albert Pujols.

Batting sixth or seventh much of last season, Molina ground into a team-leading 21 double plays in 2008 and has 68 in a career that began in 2004.

“It’s an issue,” La Russa said to MLB.com. “But everything’s an issue in front of Albert [Pujols]. If he moves him over to second and the base is open, then you need a fourth-place hitter [to protect Pujols].”

I have to admit that I don’t understand La Russa’s logic and hope he forgets the idea quickly.


Is Motte the man?

This is the question the Post-Dispatch posed to a group of their writers the other day. Is Jason Motte the one to be the Cardinals closer?

One of the columnists actually said the following. Honest.

“TLR could test him in the “Marmol Role” a few times while seeing if Ryan Franklin is more prepared this season to close. If Franklin gets it done, the veteran could stay there for a stretch.”

Raise your hand if you think Franklin’s preparation is the reason why he failed as closer in 2008.

Not a single one of the writers mentioned what I believe to be the most important factor behind La Russa not naming Motte.

If I was Tony and Dave Duncan, I would want to see how the unproven Motte reacts to the inevitable blown save. How does he handle it on the mound, in the clubhouse and the next day?

There is no stat line or radar gun that measures how a player deals with adversity.

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