Sunday Morning Coffee with Ray Mileur

Injuries are a fact of life in professional sports with some teams bitten by the injury bug more often than others. Here is a look at the the major and minor league players of the St. Louis Cardinals on the Disabled List at the end of the 2008 season, as we put together the All-DL team.

The St. Louis Cardinals saw their fair share of injuries during the 2008 season with stars like Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder missing virtually the entire campaign and Matt Clement slated to be part of the starting rotation, never made it back to the show.

It wasn't only pitching, the lineup took it lumps throughout the 08 campaign, Juan Encarnacion was already out of the entire season, with an injury suffered after being hit by a foul ball off the bat of Aaron Miles last season, an injury that most likely ended the outfielder's career. Position players, Chris Duncan, Yadier Molina, Rick Ankiel, Albert Pujols, Adam Kennedy and Brian Barton missed playing time as did pitchers; Jason Isringhausen, Tyler Johnson and others.

Injuries naturally weren't limited to the major league club. Big names from the farm system missing playing time this season, included; pitchers Adam Ottavino, Lance Lynn, Trey Hearne and David Kopp, among others. Highly touted position players including; Steven Hill, Tony Cruz, Jermaine Curtis, and Colby Rasmus, to name just a few, saw significant time in the trainer's room.

Let's take a look at the best players in the organization that finished the season on the disabled list, to fill our the All-DL Team for 2008.

OUTFIELD: Starting with the outfield we have starters; Chris Duncan in left, with Rick Ankiel roaming in center and Juan Encarnacion over in right.

LF - Chris Duncan's season was a disaster from the git-go. He eventually had to have season ending cervical disc replacement surgery in August and there is some concern that his career may be in jeopardy. Duncan finished the major league campaign, with a .248 batting average, six home runs and 27 RBIs in 76 games, 222 at-bats.

CF - Rick Ankiel had yet another season cut short due to an injury, this time an abdominal strain that required surgery for a sports hernia in September. He finished the season with a .264 batting average with 25 home runs and 71 RBIs, very good numbers, considering he played in only 120 games for the Cardinals.

RF - Juan Encarnacion missed the entire 2008 season, after he suffered multiple fractures of his left eye socket and a serious eye injury when he was hit by a foul ball while standing in the on-deck circle in August of last season, causing him to miss the rest of that season and this one, while most likely ending his career.

INFIELD: Around the horn on the infield, from the Palm Beach Cardinals, we have Tony Cruz at third, Jose Martinez, up the middle at second with his teammate from the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, Mark Hamilton, at first. Johnson City shortstop, Hector Alvarez, rounds out the infield at short, with Yadier Molina, behind the plate.

3B - Tony Cruz, the 2008 Florida State League All-Star, found his season cut short in August when he suffered a ligament sprain in his left hand. Off to the best season of his career, Cruz finished with a .279 batting average, eight home runs and 58 RBIs. He is expected to begin rehabbing in winter ball and should be ready for the 2009 season.

2B - Jose Martinez, the Springfield Cardinals middle infielder was placed on 7-day disabled list with an inflamed left big toe. The 22-year-old was hitting .253/.292/.348 with eight home runs and 67 RBIs, when his season was cut short.

1B - Mark Hamilton, another Springfield Cardinal, only managed to play in 70 games this past season, hitting .241 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs. Mark was dealing with what was being described as light-headedness in May before a hand injury, cut his season short in July.

SS - Hector Alvarez, the Johnson City Cardinals shortstop, or one of them, spent the 2008 season on the bench with a broken leg. Signed as a non-drafted free-agent in July 07, he should be ready to play next season, if the Cardinals keep him in their farm system.

C - Yadier Molina, ok he didn't finish the season on the DL, but he should have, with his left quad injury that kept him on the bench. He had his best season offensively but his defense took a little hit, as some balls got past him this season, that never would have in the past. Molina goes here, you know Yadier, need I say more?

BENCH: On the bench, outfielders Joe Mather, Colby Rasmus and Jon Jay, with infielders Jermaine Curtis, Jaime Landin and catcher Luis De La Cruz.

OF - Joe Mather finally got a chance to play in the major leagues, before hamate bone surgery ended his season in September. Mather hit .241 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 54 major league games, including 133 at-bats. The kid looks good even when he makes outs and plays better defense than most had expected.

OF - Colby Rasmus wasn't happy at Memphis and it showed. It didn't help he suffered a knee injury that cost him playing time as well, missing out of the Team USA games in the Olympics. Rasmus played in 96 games this season including six games on a rehab assignment. He finished with a .252 batting average with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. Some fans were probably surprised that Rasmus wasn't called up in September when the rosters expanded, but don't be surprise to see Rasmus spend most of the 2009 season at Memphis.

OF - Jon Jay has a great season going in the books before a sore shoulder cut short his season. He hit .345 in 16 games at Memphis, splitting playing time between the Triple-A club and Springfield. On the season, he finished with a combined, .312 batting average with 12 home runs and 57 RBIs. He should be ready to begin play when the players report to spring training, if not sooner.

IF - Jermaine Curtis was one of the brightest stars from the 2008 draft, hitting .305 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in his first season for the short season Batavia Muckdogs. Curtis suffered an ankle injury and missed over three weeks in August and was shut down for the final six games of the championship season for the Dogs.

IF - Jaime Landin missed the entire 2008 campaign with a shoulder injury. This is his second stint with the Cardinals; time will tell if he'll be healthy enough to return next season.

C - Luis De La Cruz was the talk of the town at the end of the last season, breaking into the Birdhouse Top 40 Prospect rankings at #28. A left wrist injury in June basically ended his season and he'll likely need another good season under his belt to catch the attention of the baseball pundits.

THE BULLPEN: In the bullpen, Jason Isringhausen can still close for a disabled team, with right handers Cliff Politte, Mike Sillman & Kenny Maiques rounding out the bullpen and lefties Tyler Johnson, and Joe Rogers.

CLOSER - Jason Isringhausen, the Cardinals all-time saves leader had a terrible season, losing his closer role to a host of others, while posting a record of 1-5 with 12 saves and a bloated ERA of 5.70. Injuries, such as a right hand laceration, tendinitis and a partial flexor muscle tear near his right elbow, forced him from the game this season and may have ended his career.

LHP - Tyler Johnson missed the 2008 season when he had to have arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in May ended what was suppose to be a comeback season. Johnson suffered from left shoulder capsulitis that keep him out of action from the early days of spring training, as his career is put on hold for now.

RHP - Cliff Politte, basically missed the 2008 season, appearing in only seven games for Memphis before landing on the DL. Shoulder problems have bothered him for three seasons now and it's possible that his baseball career has reached the end.

RHP - Mike Sillman missed the 2008 campaign recovering from Tommy John surgery. If you ever get a chance to watch this kid pitch, it's exciting. Once considered a potential future closer, his career may be in jeopardy with all the injuries.

RHP - Kenny Maiques finished the season on the DL with a sore elbow. A season he would soon like everyone to forget, Maiques spent time in Extended Spring Training after starting the season with Palm Beach and eventually returned to Quad Cities. Between the two stops, Maiques posted a 2-4 record with a 6.17 ERA, with a whopping 43 walks to go with 30 strikeouts in 35 innings over 35 games.

LHP - Joe Rogers only pitched in five games for Memphis before having to have season ending Tommy John surgery in April.

THE STARTING ROTATION:The starting rotation is impressive, with Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder holding down the one and two spot in the rotation, respectively. Mike Parisi from Memphis fills in at the three hole with Lance Lynn and David Kopp rounding out our DL rotation.

SP1 Chris Carpenter, should be ready by spring training, hmm, where have we heard that before? Carpenter has made just four starts among five appearances since opening day 2007. The Cardinals are hoping he'll be ready when the season starts.

SP2 - Mark Mulder, it's over. He appeared in three games for the Cardinals in 2008 for $6,500,000.00, finishing with a record of 0-0 with a 10.80 ERA. Another pitcher the Cardinals were counting on this past season to bounce back from injuries and surgeries, has probably played his last game for St. Louis.

SP3 - Mike Parisi made his major league debut this season but after 12 games including two starts, Mike is still looking for his first major league win. Tommy John surgery cut his season short and he'll likely miss the 2009 season as well. An 8-2 record with a 3.86 ERA for Triple-A Memphis and a trip to the show, will not soon be forgotten by the big right hander.

SP4 - Lance Lynn missed most of the season with tightness in his forearm landing him on the DL a couple of times. Lance was impressive for Batavia early on, posting a record of 1-0 with a 0.96 ERA in six games, including four starts. He only made two starts for Quad Cities before being shut down for the season.

SP5 - David Kopp, yet another pitcher having his season cut short because of shoulder surgery, should be back in time for the beginning of the 2009 season. Kopp appeared in 10 games for the Palm Beach Cardinals, including six starts, posting a record of 1-3 with a 3.76 ERA. He made a couple of starts on a rehab assignment for the GCL Cardinals, but continued to suffer some discomfort in his shoulder.

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