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Cutting Down To Size

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 7:00 AM
Filed Under: New York Mets | St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards made another move yesterday after their 6-3 loss to the Mets, sending Adron Chambers down to minor league camp.  That wasn't a huge surprise, though there was a line of thought that had Chambers on the big league bench.  It seemed more reasonable, though, that they wanted him playing every day and that wasn't going to happen in St. Louis.

So now there are 31 players left in camp, meaning six moves have to be made to get to the Opening Day roster.  Two of those are easy--we know that Chris Carpenter and Skip Schumaker will start the season on the disabled list--and some of the others are pretty easy to guess as well.  For example, there's one superfluous pitcher in camp, meaning either Scott Linebrink or Victor Marte is going to have to be sent out.  That one's probably going to Linebrink.  Three left.

Eugenio Velez is still there.  If he goes north with the club there has to be some real strong explaining done by Mike Matheny, as Velez is hitting .100 this spring and hasn't exactly shown a strong track record in the bigs.  Two left.

It really all comes down to two position battles.  Does Tony Cruz or Bryan Anderson get the backup role and does Shane Robinson or Erik Komatsu take the last slot on the bench?  For the latter, I've almost certain it'll be Komastu due to his Rule 5 status.  Unless John Mozeliak works out a deal that gets him Komatsu's rights, I don't see them have putting in all this time with him just to let him go back to Washington.

Cruz vs. Anderson, though, I still don't have a feel for.  Like I said yesterday, I thought Anderson was probably in the running, but Rick Hummel indicated Cruz had the upper hand.  Either way won't necessarily stir up a lot of emotion because both have had good springs.  I'd like to see Anderson get the shot, because it's probably the last one he'll get, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the club rotate the two at times this season between the bigs and Memphis.

Just over a week until these decisions must be made, but it likely won't take that long.  Some of them may be made by this weekend, though none of them will be made today as the Cardinals have their first off day of the spring.  The Cards then have the Tigers, Marlins, Mets, and Nationals twice before they go to Springfield for their last exhibition of the spring.

They'll have to "stew" in their first loss in a while after they fell to the Mets yesterday.  Jake Westbrook was finally reached for some runs, though a majority of them came after he left the ballgame.  Marc Rzepczynski struggled, but he was hit on the shin by a ball and it's possible that affected his motion.  He's had a fairly good spring before this, so it doesn't seem like it should be too much of a concern.  He also didn't get helped out by the person that followed him, as Kyle McClellan allowed two runs to score on a single by Ruben Tejada.

In Carpenter news, he doesn't think his physical problems are season-ending and he promises he'll pitch this year.  I would never doubt Carpenter's toughness and they have more information than we do, but I don't know that his statement alleviates many fans' worries.  Being that they still don't really know what's causing it, there's no way to know if the strengthening program will work and, even if it does, that Carpenter won't have a relapse later in the season.  I mean, they thought it was working earlier in the spring and we see where we are today.  I sincerely hope that Carp's right, that he can return in May or so and go the rest of the year without problems.  I don't think any of us are going to feel comfortable, though, until the season is over and we've seen him not have a relapse.

Of course, that's not the only Carpenter that's in camp.  Matt Carpenter has impressed people, even more than he did with his strong spring last year, and seems assured of starting the season in St. Louis.  He's hit this spring, sure, but he did that last spring and was sent down.  The addition of multiple positions to his resume has made a huge difference and his versatility may keep him from seeing Memphis again this year.  It's going to be fun to have some young guys on the bench instead of the Corey Pattersons of the world!

Busy day here.  Texas Playing Pepper, NL East predictions, and the finals of the Smith Regional in the All-Time Cardinal Team Tournament.  Keep checking back, there's new stuff continuing to come down the pike!

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Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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