In March, Flores will join the three others, pitchers Dewon Brazelton and John Wasdin plus catcher Mark Johnson, at the Cardinals Major League camp in Jupiter, Florida. Each will be trying to work their way onto both the 40-man roster and become one of the 25 men to break camp with the big club at the end of spring training.
Whether or not the 28-year-old Flores can make the 2008 Cardinals may depend on more than just his pitching. That is because the club already has two incumbent left-handed relievers on staff, Tyler Johnson and Ron's brother Randy, four years his elder. Unless there is a trade, injury or Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa break from recent tradition and take three lefty relievers north, Ron (right in photo) may have to beat out Randy (left) for a job.
Though he has the least MLB service time of the three, the younger Flores actually has less career flexibility than the other two. That is because after three years of moves back and forth between the major leagues and Triple-A with his former organization, the Oakland A's, Ron has exhausted all his minor league options. What that means is that once he is added to the major league roster, he cannot be sent down to the minors without first passing through waivers.
So, with few good alternatives other than to somehow make the major league team, Ron Flores will report to just his second different spring training camp in his ninth professional season. Flores joined the A's following his career with USC via the 2000 draft and remained with them until being designated for assignment in early October.
Flores appeared in 17 games for the A's in 2007, posting a 3.57 ERA. He spent the rest of the season in Sacramento, where he was a stalwart for the River Cats. He appeared in 40 games, putting up a 2.72 ERA. Overall, the Las Vegas resident has a 3.42 ERA in 397 innings over his minor league career, and a 3.05 ERA in 56 career major league innings.
In this wide-ranging exclusive interview, an engaging Ron Flores discusses how and why he is joining the Cardinals, his thoughts on his Oakland experiences, his relationship with his older brother, former teammate Anthony Reyes and much more!
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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