With the potential loss for the season of pitching coach Dave Duncan, who is caring for his seriously ill wife, Jeanine, the Cardinals' pitching situation is more fluid than it has been for the last 16 seasons.
Duncan, who asked for a
leave of absence for this season, similar to what happened in August and
September last year, has handled the staff with La Russa since 1996. The two,
who had been together since 1983 with the Chicago White Sox and
What will be interesting to watch this spring is how Derek Lilliquist, the new pitching coach, looks at such two-way pitchers as Kyle McClellan, Mitchell Boggs and Lance Lynn, all of whom have started and relieved in the majors in the last couple of years.
All finished the 2011
season in the bullpen and all may well begin there this year as the Cardinals
have five veteran starters in place. But
The Cardinals' right-handed side of the bullpen already encompasses closer Jason Motte and set-up men Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez, so it isn't likely to have six righthanded relievers this season.
The Cardinals, having
lost Jeff Luhnow, vice president of player development, and amateur draft
analyst Sig Mejdal to front office jobs in
Former major league left-hander Brent Strom, who has been an instructor in the organization, was named minor league pitching coordinator and Jamie Pogue, who played in the Cardinals' system as a catcher, has been named bullpen catcher.
From last year's staff, only hitting coach Mark McGwire and third-base Jose Oquendo will remain in their same positions. Mike Aldrete has moved from assistant hitting coach to bench coach and Derek Lilliquist switched from bullpen coach to at least interim pitching coach to replace Dave Duncan, who has requested a leave of absence.
The Cardinals won't be
raising their world championship banner until April 13 when they open their home
1B Matt Adams, the organization's minor league player of the year for 2011, is expected to get a long look this spring. Adams, who hit .300 with 32 homers and 101 RBIs at Class AA Arkansas, figures to be the 1B at Class AAA Memphis this season but could be starting for the Cardinals in 2013 if Lance Berkman, the current first baseman, didn't return.
BY THE NUMBERS: .175 - RHP Kyle Lohse's 2011 batting average, highest for a returning Cardinals SP.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "You just expect him to be Adam Wainwright. Nothing more. Nothing less."
- New manager Mike Matheny on the return of the RHP who missed all of last season following elbow surgery.
The Cardinals are coming off a World Series title, but general manager John Mozeliak realizes the big turnaround in the season came in late July and early August when the club changed 20 percent of its roster with five additions. Now that first baseman Albert Pujols is gone, the Cardinals are entering a new era, and they replaced some of Pujols' offense by signing OF Carlos Beltran.
OF Carlos Beltran (free agent from
Giants), LHP J.C. Romero (free agent from
1B Albert Pujols (free agent, signed with Angels), RHP Octavio Dotel (free agent, signed with Tigers), C Gerald Laird (free agent, signed with Tigers), INF Nick Punto (free agent, signed with Red Sox).
RHP Kyle McClellan, RP Jason Motte.
OF Allen Craig (knee surgery) is out until May.
RHP Adam Wainwright is
expected to go to Jupiter,