Take Five - with Josh Hancock

Josh could be putting his "Hancock" on a major league contract soon.

Another round of cuts came today as the St. Louis Cardinals made a series of roster moves that included reassigning four non-roster invitees; John Webb, Brad Voyles, John Riedling and Blaine Neal to minor league camp.

Surviving the cut, Josh Hancock may be a step closer to signing a major league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Hancock pitched two innings of perfect relief in the Cardinals 4-2 loss, against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

Coming into the game in the sixth inning, Hancock did not allow any hits, striking out one batter and walking none over two complete innings.

Entering Thursday's game, Hancock had appeared in three games for St. Louis, all in relief. Pitching a total of 3.1 innings, giving up only two hits, walking none and striking out four batters, more than enough to attract the attention of the Cardinals' Manager and coaching staff.

"He's done a good job," said Cardinal Manager, Tony La Russa. "He's gotten breaking balls in tough spots, got a nice changeup, he's throwing the ball down and up when he's supposed to."

I caught up with Josh to talk about his chances of making the Cardinals roster.

RM: "First, Josh I just want to welcome you to St. Louis and to let you know, I think you have a very good chance to make this club as a member of the bullpen."

JH: "Thanks it's great to be here, this is a great organization to play for, everything is so well organized here."

RM: "Josh, I was talking to Cal Eldred and pitching Coach Dave Duncan about you, and it just doesn't make any sense the Reds cutting you like they did. I mean it's not like they have an abundance of pitching. What's the deal?

JH: "I got called in after reporting to camp, saying I didn't make my weight and I asked them what are you talking about? That was the first time I ever heard anything about my weight and then the next day in the papers, I'm being ripped about being over-weight."

RM: "Well, I can tell you what Dave Duncan thinks. He could care less about how much you weigh, he just wants to know if you can pitch."

JH: "I can pitch and I'd love to pitch here for the Cardinals."

RM: "I was talking to Cal about your weight, I don't see a problem, neither does he. If you want to get hung up over a couple of pounds, heck you can lose 10 pounds in a single appearance in a game. Was there really a weight issue?"

JH: "Weight had nothing to do about it, Reds didn't want to have to pay me $237,000 to pitch at AAA."

RM: "I have been watching you pitched and it would appear to me, that their decision is going to come back and haunt them. I'll let you go now and thanks again for your time, I hope to see you around the ballpark a lot this season."

JH: "I hope so."

Hancock was very effective in relief for the Reds last season at the major league level. He appeared in 11 games, finishing five of them. He had a 1-0 record with no saves and a 1.93 ERA. In 14 innings pitched, he gave up only 11 hits, allowing opposing batters to hit just .208 against him.

Walt Jocketty may have done it again, by bringing Hancock to St. Louis, just three days after he was cut by the Reds.

Don't be surprised to see Josh, putting his "Hancock" on a major league contract soon.

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