Cards Disable Seven in Roster Maneuvers

The St. Louis Cardinals placed four starting pitchers, two relievers and an outfielder on the disabled list. An updated view of the roster and the remaining battles follow.

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have placed seven players on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 21, the first allowable day.

Included are the following, listed by position, type of injury and rough estimate of return date.

Starters Injury Return
Chris Carpenter  right elbow Mid-season
Mark Mulder  left shoulder May
Matt Clement  right shoulder unknown
Joel Pineiro  right shoulder mid-April
Relievers
Tyler Johnson  left shoulder unknown
Josh Kinney  right elbow May
Outfielder
Juan Encarnacion  left orbital fracture (eye) out for 2008

With Matt Clement throwing to live batters for the first time on Tuesday and hitting only the mid-80s on the gun, it reinforces how incredible it was for the Cards to have been originally counting on him to be their #3 starter coming into camp.

For roster management purposes, before and after the moves, the team has 39 players on their 40-man roster following the outright of infielder Brian Barden to the minors earlier in the week. In terms of subtractions, in addition to the seven now disabled, seven other players were previously optioned out to the minor leagues this spring.

Along with the 25 rostered players in camp, six other non-roster invitees remain for a total of 31 players competing for 25 jobs. Details follow.

Roster Camp Opt. DL
39
25 Pitchers (12): Flores, Franklin, Isringhausen,
K Jimenez, Lohse, Looper, McClellan, Reyes,
Springer, Thompson, Wainwright, Wellemeyer
Catchers (2): LaRue, Molina
Infielders (6): Glaus, Izturis, Kennedy, 
Miles, Pujols, Ryan
Outfielders (5): Ankiel, Barton, Duncan,
Ludwick, Schumaker
7 Pitchers (4): Hawksworth, Motte, Parisi, Worrell,
Pos Players (3): Hoffpauir, Haerther, Mather
7 Pitchers (6): Carpenter, Clement, Johnson, 
Kinney, Mulder, Pineiro
Pos Player (1): Encarnacion
NRIs Camp
6 Pitchers (4): Castellanos, Perez, Politte, Villone
Pos Players (2): D. Jimenez, Gonzalez
Total Camp
31

Following today's transactions, the Cardinals have 31 players remaining in camp; 16 pitchers competing for 12 jobs and 15 position players competing for 13 jobs.

I consider 20 of the 25 roster spots spoken for, with most of the remaining battles already decided, too.

  In # Jobs Jobs Locks In Names
  camp         play  
Total 31   25   20 5  
               
Pitchers 16   12        
Starters   6   5      
          4   Wainwright, Lohse, Looper, Wellemeyer
            1 Thompson, Reyes
Relievers   10   7      
          5   Flores, Franklin, Izzy, Springer, Villone
            2 (Thompson), K Jimenez, McClellan,  
              Castellanos, Perez, Politte
               
Position 15   13        
Catchers   2   2 2   LaRue, Molina
Infielders   6   6      
          5   Glaus, Izturis, Kennedy, Miles, Pujols
            1 Ryan, D Jimenez
Outfielders   7   5      
          4   Ankiel, Duncan, Ludwick, Schumaker
            1 Barton, Gonzalez

Note: Leader noted in bold.

Starter #5
Looking at the table above, it denotes that the fifth starter's job between Brad Thompson and Anthony Reyes has not been officially announced. It is yet to be determined if Reyes' six three-hit shutout innings on Tuesday salvaged his dwindling chances. Despite walking 11 batters while fanning ten this spring, Todd Wellemeyer's spot is rumored to be secure.

Reliever #6 and #7
Especially with a hodge-podge starting rotation and only two days off in April, the Cardinals will need a deep pen this season. With second lefty reliever Tyler Johnson out indefinitely, non-roster invitee Ron Villone seems wired into a spot. As long as Thompson is in the rotation, two other pen seats will be available. Kelvin Jimenez and rookie Kyle McClellan seem to be in the lead.

Infielder
As long as Brendan Ryan's ribcage soreness abates, he should keep veteran D'Angelo Jimenez at bay. Otherwise, Ryan heads to the DL and this Jimenez grabs a temporary job.

The latter would come with several significant costs and risks, however. Even if there is room for Jimenez on the 40-man, once he is added, the club commits to pay his full-season salary. If/when they send Jimenez down, he would have to pass through waivers first. If he would be claimed, the salary obligation above the prorated MLB minimum would remain with the Cardinals, but the player would be lost. At least partially for these reasons, the Cards are pulling for Ryan to be ready to go.

Outfielder
The end of Juan Gonzalez' comeback bid essentially ended when he could only answer the bell to play in the field for one day this spring. Unless the National League quickly implements the designated hitter, the only question remaining is how far Juan will be Gone – to the DL, to Triple-A or back to retirement.

40-man and 60-day DL
In this scenario, only one non-roster invitee, Villone, would make the 25-man active roster, also using up the final available spot on the 40-man. While Carpenter and Encarnacion could easily be added to the 60-day disabled list which would free up two more spots on the 40-man, the spots cannot be claimed nor will they be needed until the Cardinals add another major league player not currently on the 40-man.

Wednesday morning update
Relievers Perez and Politte were sent down to minor league camp on Wednesday, reducing the number of players in camp down to 29. Click on the links to Hot News items on Perez and Politte.



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

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