The Cardinals cut five after Sunday's game. Pitcher Blake Hawksworth and infielder Tyler Greene were optioned out to Triple-A Memphis. Three non-roster invitees (NRIs) were also reassigned to minor league camp. They are pitcher Fernando Salas, catcher Bryan Anderson and outfielder Jon Jay.
33 players remain in the major league camp, 15 pitchers (including injured Jaime Garcia) and 18 position players. Five NRIs are included: pitcher P.J. Walters, catcher Matt Pagnozzi, second baseman Joe Thurston, third baseman David Freese and outfielder Colby Rasmus.
As already reported, third baseman David Freese is back in the major league clubhouse. It was GM John Mozeliak's idea to bring Freese back. Tony La Russa wholeheartedly agreed, noting this way he both gets expense money and feels a part of the team. Tony acknowledged it is rare for a non-roster player to be brought back.
La Russa said he asked Joe Mather if there was any injury and was told no, that his back is a bit stiff now and then, but nothing important. Mather is set to play third on Monday. La Russa remains "high" on Mather.
La Russa says there may be another small roster cut coming later today or tomorrow, but nothing major at this point.
Joining Skip Schumaker in fielding drills on field one at 9 a.m. was none other than Yadier Molina. The catcher didn't look half bad, but maybe Jose Oquendo didn't hit his grounders as hard! La Russa, who traveled out there to watch, characterized Skip as "progressing and improving".
Third baseman Troy Glaus is in uniform with glove in hand, but did not participate in any throwing. Instead, he talked old ballparks with Red Schoendienst and hitting with coach Hal McRae.
Asked if he could see starting the season with 13 pitchers, Tony answered "I hope not!"
Struggling Kyle McClellan's roster spot is not in jeopardy, says the manager. "I expect him to be right in two weeks," were his words. McClellan is to throw a bullpen on Monday and be available to pitch on Wednesday as he works out some mechanical issues.
Closer candidate Chris Perez will "hopefully" be back Wednesday, after the off day. La Russa reaffirms that if he is healthy, Perez can still make the team.
La Russa remains positive on Joe Thurston, including approach to the game and attitude, while noting most of his spring average came in two games. He sees the NRI as very comfortable at second base, but less so at short and hasn't seen enough of him at third to form a full opinion. He likes Thurston's left-handed bat "if he can hit".
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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