The Cardinals made it through spring training with no significant pitching injuries other than the shoulder discomfort experienced by RH reliever Chris Perez, costing him two weeks of work. 3B Troy Glaus, who had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder in January, didn't progress as quickly as hoped, and he may not be ready until June.
ROTATION ANALYSIS: The rotation is all right-handed, but these right-handers appear, for the most part, to be able to deal with left-handed hitters. Carpenter, the former Cy Young Award winner, seems to have recaptured most of his form of three and four years ago after missing virtually all of 2007 and 2008.
Lohse won 15 games in his first season as a Cardinal, netting him a $41 million, four-year contract when the Cardinals hastily signed him the day after the 2008 regular season ended. Wellemeyer won 13 in his first full season as a starter and could do better. Wainwright should be available for a whole season after missing two months in 2008 with a sprained middle finger.
BULLPEN ANALYSIS: The Cardinals came to end the of camp with one extra right-hander in their bullpen corps. Chances were that RHP Chris Perez, impressive at times last year as a rookie closer, might start the season in Class AAA Memphis. McClellan and Thompson will be needed more in the first six weeks, when the Cardinals have just one off day in the first 35 days of the season.
LINEUP ANALYSIS: Manager Tony La Russa, who did it all last season, still would prefer to hit a position player ninth as a second leadoff man but will do that only if rookie CF Colby Rasmus is in the lineup or if 2B Skip Schumaker, a left-handed hitter, is facing a left-handed pitcher.
The Cardinals led the National League in hitting last year at .281 but ranked only fourth in runs scored. As always, protection for Pujols is paramount. Duncan will get the first crack at it this year.
RESERVES ANALYSIS: The uncertainty over the third base situation had an effect on the makeup of the bench, which might include three reserve infielders and just one backup outfielder. Mather was the regular third baseman when camp began, but he hit (or didn't hit) his way out of the lineup. However, he is the only right-handed hitter who can provide power off the bench.
The final spot on the roster will go to Ryan or Barden, depending on who emerges in the final week of spring training.
ROOKIE WATCH: OF Colby Rasmus showed his varied skills in stretches this spring, although he struck out too much and didn't play consistently well in the field. Manager Tony La Russa was trying to figure how to get him enough at-bats to warrant keeping him because Rasmus likely will start the season behind veteran OFs Chris Duncan, Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick. RHP Jason Motte seemed to have seized at least part of the closer's job with an almost spotless spring. 3B David Freese started slowly after an Achilles tendon injury in the offseason, but he appeared to win the third base spot (with Troy Glaus out after surgery) in the last couple of weeks of the spring.
3B Troy Glaus (right shoulder surgery in January 2009) didn't heal as quickly as hoped. He may not play until June.
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