Spring Training Spotlight - Brian Falkenborg

At 6'6" and 225 pounds it is hard not to notice Brian Falkenborg. Put him on the mound in a Cardinal uniform and #63 is making it hard for coaches and fans to ignore this non-roster invitee.

Outside of Redbird fans, at Triple-A Memphis, where Falkenborg finished the season last year at. Most fans in St. Louis probably never heard of the big right-hander reliever who signed a minor league free agent contract with St. Louis last August and is in spring training this year as a non-roster invitee.

You can never have an abundance of pitching, but the Cardinals have apparently struck it rich, with the quality of arms and the quality of pitching they are getting from their non-roster invitee pitchers.

St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan told me, "I'm really surprised by the shape and condition that these non-roster invitees came into camp in. They are ready to pitch and take advantage of the opportunity of being here."

The numbers this spring by the non-roster pitchers are impressive and list of these pitchers invited to camp include the likes of; Alan Benes (4 games - 0.00 ERA), Josh Hancock (3 games - 0.00 ERA), Jeff Nelson (3 games - 0.00 ERA), Brad Voyles (4 games - 1 win & 1 save & 0.00 ERA) and John Webb (2 games - 0.00 ERA).

Who wants to be a millionaire? Apparently these guys do.

Falkenborg is even standing out among this group. At six foot six, he's hard to ignore, but then you add the way he is pitching and you can't wait for him to take the mound again.

At 6'4", I'm not use to looking up at most players, but I have to look up at Falkenborg, not so much because he's a couple of inches taller than me, but you have to look up and respect him, because of his hard work on and off the field, to get ready for spring training this season.

Brian, who already has a win under his belt this spring, has appeared in four games for the Cardinals, all in relielf. He's pitched a total of four innings, giving up five hits, while striking out three batters and walking just one.

Last season, Falkenborg started the year with San Diego's Triple-A Portland club. He amassed a 3-4 record with one save in 28 games in relief.

He managed to appear in 10 major league games (finishing three) for the Padres last season, posting a record of 0-0 with 0 saves and a 8.18 ERA.

The Cardinals signed him in August last season and sent him to Triple-A Memphis, where he finished the season as a closer and picking up five saves and one win in 13 appearances.

Brian averaged almost one K per inning at Memphis, striking out 14 in 16.0 IP to go along with a 1.69 ERA.

This spring the 28 year old right-hander is doing everything he can to try to earn a spot in the Cardinals bullpen.

The timing may be off for Falkenborg to make the 25 man roster out of spring training. For the first time in a long time, it appears that the Cardinals may actually have an abundance of pitching in camp. Of course we know that won't continue through out the season.

Here is another example of something that sort of breaks your heart. You have a guy who comes into camp, giving you everything he's got and getting the job done on the field, only to find out, there is no room on the roster for him.

Brian will probably start the season at Triple-A, but he is one of the guys you should keep your eyes on, he'll be easy to spot, he's the guy you'll have to look up to, on and off the mound.

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