Sunday Morning Coffee with Ray Mileur

This week it's another edition of Q&A, a review of the questions from the fans from my radio appearances, the fan on the streets, the courthouse, before and after church, my voice-mail and e-mails, a look at the most often asked questions and my responses.

When do you expect Troy Glaus to be back in the Cardinals everyday lineup?

A – As usual the Cardinals were overly optimistic about the return of Glaus with the projections being he could be back before May. As we consistently reported here "In the House" we didn't expect him back till mid-May at the best, with even a June timetable more likely, depending on Glaus' progress with his rehab. Now, I wouldn't be surprised to see him out until the All-Star break, then there is a big question as to what you would do with David Freese, if he is playing up to his potential. Glaus is getting $11.5 million this season, so I'd expect Freese would be sent back to Memphis, but I doubt that Glaus will have any kind of power stroke upon his return, which will make a decision to keep him in the lineup an interesting one.

With the Cardinals going with the bullpen by committee approach this season, who is going to get the most save opportunities this season?

A – My hunch is Jason Motte, who I predicted would end up being the team's closer, will get the most opportunities. The kid was five for five in save opportunities, with an ERA of just 1.46 and he had 18 strikeouts to only one walk in Grapefruit League action. Motte certainly proved at the end of last season and this spring that he's capable of handling the closer role as far as I'm concerned and if he was a ‘major league veteran', La Russa would have already made the announcement that he's the team's closer.

Now that Colby Rasmus has made the ballclub, how much will he get to play and where will he play in center field when he does play?

When the Cardinals decided to make the final cut, by cutting outfielder Joe Mather that sent a clear message to everyone, with the Cardinals carrying only four outfielders, five if you count Skip Schumaker, Rasmus as the fourth outfielder is going to get plenty of playing time. He'll play more in left and right, with Ankiel getting the bulk of the playing time in center.

Where is Brett Wallace going to start the season and will far away is he from playing in the majors?

The Cardinals' 2008 1st round draft pick, has been described by scouts as a pure hitter, he was the Pac-10 Triple Crown winner two years running and besides Albert Pujols, Wallace is probably the best hitter in the system. He's slated to start the season at Double-A Springfield, but should be in Triple-A Memphis before the end of the season. How far is he from ‘The Show', I'd say you'll see him at third base in St. Louis, no later than 2011.

When do you expect Chris Perez back?

Chris will start the season with Memphis, but you can expect him back in St. Louis very soon. The Cardinals decided to keep Kyle McClellan on the roster, despite that he had a very rough two months to end last season and hasn't pitched well this spring. Granted their roles are different, with McClellan expected to go more than one or two innings, based on his offseason conditioning, but it doesn't matter how many innings he pitches, if he's ineffective, the Cardinals won't be able to keep him on the roster, which would open the door for Perez to return. Not an easy decision, considering you have a couple of lefty specialists in the bullpen that you don't expect multi-innings from and then to carry both Motte and Perez, that really limits the innings you can count on coming out of the bullpen. Again, another interesting scenario here in St. Louis to keep an eye on.

Is there anyone in the Cardinals minor league system that can come up and play second base if Skip Schumaker doesn't play well enough?

Second base is probably the weakest position that the Cardinals system has in the minors. The Cardinals would use Joe Thurston, Brian Barden or Brendan Ryan at second, before calling someone up from the minors.

Where will the Cardinals finish this season?

I think the Cardinals can give the Cubs all they can handle this season. Winning the National League Central Division title isn't a cakewalk anymore, it's going to take at least 92 wins to win it, I got the Cardinals down for 96 wins this season, good enough to get them into the postseason.



NOTES AND QUOTES

--- St. Louis trimmed its spring roster to 25 players following Thursday's game when OF Joe Mather was optioned to Memphis. The final roster consists of 22 roster and three non-roster players to make up the 25, which includes 12 pitchers and 13 position players.

--- Shortstop Khalil Greene is the first Cards player not named Albert Pujols to hit over .400 during spring training since 2000. Greene hit .408 this spring (29-71) and hit in eight of his last nine spring games (12- 26, .462). Since the team began playing in Jupiter, St. Louis has had a player hit over .400 six times: 2009 K. Greene .408; 2008 A. Pujols .407 (24-59); 2005 A. Pujols .458 (27-59); 2003 A. Pujols .415 (27-65); 2000 P. Polanco .439 (25-57); 1999 M. McGwire .414 (24-58).

--- OPENING DAY HONORS: Manager Tony La Russa declared starter Adam Wainwright as the team's Opening Day starting pitcher. He will be opposed by Pittsburgh's starter, LH Paul Maholm.

--- WEEKLY ROTATION: The Cardinals and Pirates have the pitching match-ups set for the opening series. The final three games will feature RH Kyle Lohse vs. RH Ian Snell on Tuesday, RH Todd Wellemeyer vs. LH Zach Duke and RH Chris Carpenter vs. RH Ross Ohlendorf.



COMING UP

Catch Birdhouse Publisher Ray Mileur with co-host Bill McCarty and special guests, every Friday morning on "Inside the Cardinals" from 8:10 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. in Southern Illinois on 103.9 FM.

Booksigning - Jerry Mileur, author of "High Flying Birds", the story of the 1942 World Champions St. Louis Cardinals will be appearing at the Bookworm, in Carbondale Illinois on Saturday, April 11th, from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM, to answer questions & sign copies of his new book.

The Bookworm is located at 610 E. Walnut St. in the Eastgate Shopping Center, Carbondale, Illinois, Birdhouse Publisher Ray Mileur is scheduled to make an appearance at the signing.

 

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