Exclusive Interview – Rich Scalamandre

Reliever Rich Scalamandre talks with Brian Walton from the Arizona Fall League.

St. Louis Cardinals minor league reliever Rich Scalamandre, 25, was the Cardinals' 23rd round draft choice in 2002 from Dominion College. Scalamandre has pitched most of the past two seasons at Palm Beach, where he improved his ERA by almost a full run between 2004 and 2005, from 4.08 to 3.15.

I caught up with Scalamandre at the Arizona Fall League. As the only primarily Single-A-level Cardinal player in the league, he began the season on the Taxi Squad, meaning he could only play on Wednesdays and Sundays. But, on October 19, after Houston Astros farmhand Aaron Williams suffered an elbow injury, Scalamandre moved up to be eligible for every-day duty.

He made the most of his opportunity, pitching pretty well out of the Surprise Scorpions bullpen, putting up a 1.76 ERA in 15-1/3 innings. Scalamandre struck out 12 and only walked five, but has gotten used to working out of jams along with help from his defense.

In a signal that all is not as good as it seems, opposing AFL hitters put up a .306 batting average against him. Scalamandre relies on his fastball and slider and the organization hopes he becomes a full-time member of the 2006 Springfield pen after appearing there only briefly in 2005.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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