The 31-year-old has also overcome anxiety disorder, and would seem to become the team's new focal point in that area, replacing Rick Ankiel. Ankiel will be leaving the 40-man roster in the next few days as he is exposed to waivers before the start of the season.
Pulsipher did not allow even one run in ten innings over nine spring training outings, fanning seven and walking three. Pulse truly earned his spot on the team as what seems to be the second situational lefty role.
Fellow lefthander Randy Flores has also made the team. Flores, 29, joined the Cardinals over a year ago as a minor league free agent. It almost seems as if his lefthandness was less important than his versatility, as Flores has pitched in a variety of roles since becoming a Cardinal, including long relief and even one spot start. Although it didn't seem to matter all that much, Flores had an awful spring statistically, allowing seven earned runs in 8-2/3 innings.
The man who Flores beat out, veteran righthander Kevin Jarvis, has been assigned to the minors, but has not yet decided if he will report. His spring ERA was 4.22.
As a non-roster invitee, both Pulsipher and fellow NRI Abraham Nunez will be added to the 40-man by Tuesday. With Ankiel coming off, the 40-man will stand at 38 players, leaving flexibility for other moves.
Plus, with six days remaining before opening day and players being cut all over the majors, there is still a chance that others could be brought in who would further change the roster. As expected, team officials remain "flexible" regarding these matters.
Lincoln seemed to have the old "ahead of schedule", then "experienced a setback in rehab" scenario that we have seen so many times in the past. At this point, Lincoln's return is so far away, there could be many roster changes between now and then. Forecasting when he will return; let alone who he would replace on the roster at that time is a crap shoot.
What I do believe is that if Lincoln and Morris were ready now, there would not have been such a search underway for another dependable reliever from another team; nor would Pulsipher or Flores have made the team out of spring training.
If La Russa decides to go with 12 pitchers when Morris is ready, then Hector Luna or perhaps Abraham Nunez, if he flames out in April action, would be the ones on the bubble. If Tony decides to stay with 11 arms, one of the two the last pitchers added to the team (Pulsipher and Flores) would be most likely to go, given today's assumptions.
Even with such a veteran squad, there are as many as ten players with minor league options remaining. However, most of them are guys who are not at risk of ever being sent down. On the offensive side for example, we have Hector Luna and Yadier Molina, not that the latter's remaining options will ever be used.
This potential lack of flexibility could mean that the cut that goes with Morris' return might require the excess player to be exposed to waivers.
However, as La Russa always says, "These things have a way of working themselves out." More than likely between now and April 19, someone will come down with either an injury or a bout of ineffectiveness (remember Jason Simontacchi's struggles last season?), making the decision easier.
But, for now at least, the roster is set and Bill Pulsipher has made it.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org