The Cardinals Spring Training Notebook 03/04

Chris Duncan finished the day going 4-for-4 with a Mickey Mantle type, 470 foot, three-run homer, a triple and five RBI, as St. Louis used a seven-run fourth inning to crush the WBC handicapped New York Mets, 15-4, in Grapefruit League action Tuesday.

The Mets had 15 players MIA for the World Baseball Classic, leaving their team without key marquee players including; Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes and David Wright.

St. Louis taking advantage of the situation, if you can't hit a man when he's down, when can you hit him, continued to play their usual hard nine as players continue to battle for playing time and a potential spot on the Cardinals 25-man roster.

Besides Chris Duncan's offensive onslaught, minor league corner infielder, Allen Craig went 2-for-5 with a solo shot and knocked in three for the Cardinals and Tuesday's starting third baseman, Joe Mather, appeared in his sixth game, going three for four with a double and one RBI. Mather leads camp with seven RBIs in 19 at-bats.

Superstar Albert Pujols reached base all three times yesterday, twice via the walk, scoring three times and driving in two, while infielder Joe Thurston hit the Cardinals third home run to contribute in the assault against the Mets.

On the mound, St. Louis starter righthander Kyle Lohse tossed 3 2/3 scoreless frames, giving up three hits for the win. Lefthander Royce Ring was very impressive as he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless frames.

Trever Miller is the only lefty in the St. Louis pen who is a lock to make the team, Monday he struck out all three hitters he faced Monday, making this offseason deal looking like a bargain as Miller is expected to be one of the better lefty specialists in the National League who may be pitching along side with Royce Ring, if Ring continues to be more effective than Charlie Manning and Ian Ostlund, all battling for the second lefty spot in the bullpen.

RASMUS WATCH

Skip Schumaker is playing at second base to open the door for Colby Rasmus to make his major league debut, but the promising outfielder is struggling at the plate, going 1-for-6 Tuesday as his batting average fell to .192. Subject to debate, Rasmus was tagged with an error on a play in left-center Tuesday, before the decision was reversed. Rasmus will need to step up his game if he's going to stick with the team. It's been my take that Colby should start the season at Triple-A Memphis, at this point, that would certainly seem like the most likely scenario.

NOTES AND QUOTES

Rick Ankiel didn't make the trip with the team yesterday, dealing with soreness in his left Achilles' tendon stemming from an injury in Monday's game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

David Freese made his first plate appearance of spring training Tuesday, and his game debut at third base may come as early as this week. Freese struck out in his only plate appearance. Freese the early favorite to play third while Troy Glaus is sidelined will now have to unseat Mather from third to make the club.

Brian Barden took a pitch off the wrist Sunday and should be listed day-to-day for now, according to a report from MLB.com

Brendan Ryan - still dealing with his wrist issues, is hitting off the tee and did play in the field yesterday. Ryan is hoping he'll be ready to play, including being able to hit, as soon as Thursday.

Mitchell Boggs - a long shot candidate for a rotation spot, began throwing batting practice after being set back early in camp by a stiff shoulder. Boggs will most likely start the season at Triple A Memphis

Clayton Mortensen - ticketed for Class AAA Memphis is still having elbow problems and isn't expected to pitch for a while.

The Cardinals have the first of their four off-days. Their schedule resumes Thursday with a game against the Dominican World Baseball Classic team in Jupiter on their home field at 1:05 p.m. CT. Todd Wellemeyer is slated to start for St. Louis.

 

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