Spring Training Spotlight - Tyler Johnson

St. Louis Cardinals left handed reliever Tyler Johnson sets and prepares to pitch in Friday's live batting practice sessions in Spring Training at Roger Dean Stadium.

After being recalled from Memphis on May the 9th last season, Tyler Johnson spent the rest of the season in the Majors. He appeared in 56 games, posting a 4.95 ERA, allowing 33 hits, striking out 37 and walking 23 in 36.1 innings. He held left-handers to a .227 average.

Johnson was a key-member of the bullpen in the post-season, making 10 appearances, allowing just one run (1.23 ERA) on four hits while striking out 12 and walking two in 7.1 innings.

Basically a left handed specialist with a devastating slider as his best pitch, the Cardinals are hoping to expand his role on the club this year, as he becomes better at facing right handed hitters.

Friday, he was effective pitching batting practice against, left handed hitters, Rick Ankiel & Cody Haerther and right handed hitters Eli Marrero and Brian Esposito. The young Johnson was being carefully the watched by the St. Louis Cardinals Vice-President and General Manager Walt Jocketty and Vice-President of Player Personnel Jerry Walker, during Friday's session.

The Cardinals have 28 pitchers in camp and it's anticipated that the club will carry 12 pitchers north to open the season, with potentially three left handers in the bullpen. If the club carries three lefties, Johnson would appear to be an early lock.

If the Cardinals take just two lefties, then Johnson could become a victim of the numbers and then he will be competing against lefties, Ricardo Rincon, Randy Flores, and Troy Cate for one of those two spots.

If Johnson does get bumped down to Triple-A Memphis to start the season, it is only a matter of time before he returns to the major leagues for good.

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