Salutations. After a rather eventful travel day trying to find my way back from New York City to St. Louis and reintroducing myself to the family dog -- who, annually, barks at me and growls upon my return from spring training -- I'm poised and ready for the first chat of the regular season. Rick Hummel has the keyboard in Milwaukee so he'll have all the lineups and news. A decision is expected on Adam Wainwright today after he proves what he can do running wise and how he feels a day after throwing. We'll go through Greg Holland's schedule as soon as some asks. And away we go ...
The Cardinals haven't telegraphed who will go out because they don't have to. Tuivailala is out of options, so sending him to Memphis will, effectively, be losing him. The Cardinals would better served trying to trade him at this point -- because another team will just grab him off waivers with his arm, and his experience. Check out what the A's did to get Lucas, for example. Matt Bowman, who pitched well in the Cardinals' first win of the season, has options and that makes him vulnerable -- like Brebbia. So he could be moved easily. Same with Sherriff. I imagine we'll get a lot of questions like this today. The roster moves are this year's lineup questions, I guess. En Vogue, and curiously so. But the Pleau Principle is in play: Don't make a decision until you have to make a decision because by then an injury or performance will have made the decision for you.
They were aware he had a shoulder issue at times last season and coming out of the season. His shoulder was sore. It wasn't limiting his ability to throw at full strength, and to throw often. Not for him to make plays -- or unleash when necessary. This spring, as was mentioned at the time, he was on a reduced throwing program and the Cardinals did not have him throwing hard or throwing much until the end of spring training, and as we saw in New York some of that caution has carried into the regular season. It's important to stress here that it's sore, tender, like tendinitis, irritation, and it's not in the same galaxy at this point as what, say, Matt Carpenter is dealing with. And I've had some people suggest putting Ozuna on the DL to get healthy. Well, why? He's not a pitcher having to throw 50, 60, 90 times a game -- and he's not out there in LF for his arm. He's in the lineup for his bat, and he doesn't feel like his bat is compromised. Plus, he was able to make several throws during the series vs. the Mets that didn't cost the Cardinals a base -- and apparently few people want to remember those. He's playable. Team is just cautious that's all. He has also been receiving treatment like any player for inflammation.
He can pitch there now, effectively. By rule, he can pitch whenever there is a game that does not involve ticket sales. So he can be on the back fields for spring training (today) or during extended spring training games (next week). He just cannot pitch for a minor-league team when there are ticket sales -- not until he can start his rehab assignment. He has 30 days to do that, and by rule he cannot start on a rehab assignment until 30 days before he's eligible to come off the 60-day DL. That means 30 days before May 28, he'll be off to the minors and ready to make a series of starts at various affiliates.
His actions suggest so. That wasn't the feel coming out of spring training. It's become apparent that the Cardinals don't intend to ignore Kolten Wong's spring production quite like they suggested at the time. Now he's in play for the position switches. It's worth noting that we're operating with a small sample size that includes a) a lefthanded pitcher (Matz) and b) a pitcher Gyorko has hit well (Davies), so it's timing working against Wong as well as the feel of his spring. Now with the injury, Wong is going to get ample playing time and if he revs to life at the plate or changes games with his glove the way he can better than any other Cardinals infielder, then by the time Gyorko comes back there isn't a platoon to be had.
Sure. Scarce. One. Two. But sure.
The front office, pitching coach, and manager are all in agreement with how aware and careful they must be with this new asset they have. All parties agree to be protective, and they are all the check on each other. That's the explanation I received.
Seriously? This is starting already. Let's take a breath. Get back on topic.
Interesting question. I'm not in Milwaukee and the clubhouse hasn't opened yet up there, so on this particular topic as of this moment, I can't offer any details. I do know that for a story this spring training I spoke to several of Pham's teammates about his bluntness and whether that works in the clubhouse or not. Jedd Gyorko, Dexter Fowler, and Brett Cecil all spoke to me about it on the record, and it was Cecil that said he was still trying to get a feel for Pham and how to take his comments some times. They had an issue last year, and Cecil wasn't sure if it was to be laughed off or taken more seriously. His point was that he didn't really care if a teammate called out another team, or a teammate said he should play ahead of another team, rather that those words better be backed up. That was the general sense from other players, too. Say what you will. But you better do what you say. Don't and it's posturing, not performing, and what you're talking about as far as what doesn't last in a major-league clubhouse ... well, posturing. The clubhouse allows for a lot of things if it comes with production. A guy can ignore, frustrate, anger teammates but go out there and rake and win games and you'd be amazing how forgiving a place the big leagues can be for personality quirks that may not work well in the press box, or bank, or law office, or anywhere. But posturing? Nope.
They did pick up a draft pick for Lynn, and that offsets the loss, somewhat. The Cardinals, by rule, also have their international pool cut by $500,000 for the signing of Holland. That is less painful for them considering they are still on the spending limits.
Because he's a major-league manager, had been a catcher, and because we've never seen something like that before in the majors from a manager. How about that? It just doesn't happen.
When are their contracts up? Then. That's the time. Then.
I've seen them all, yes. And you're missing out. Daniel Craig brought a level to that character not seen since the original books by Ian Fleming. You know, books: the movies for the mind.
I thought people wanted more? Please, can we get a consensus on this?
Jack Flaherty was already optioned once. The Cardinals have revealed the answer.
Not even in the slightest. Could not be further from the case.
(Editor's note: The question for this answer was inadvertently deleted. It was about the severity of Pham's eyesight issues. Derrick's answer is below.)
It's a huge deal. He is legally blind in his left eye. For a story last year that attempted to, for the first time, really describe what he was dealing with, I had a specialist describe it this way: Imaging your driving a car. You're looking through the windshield right. It's raining. Now someone smears vaseline all over that windshield. What do you see? That's his vision. He had a surgery to halt the degenerative nature of the disease -- meaning the process should halt it from getting worse. That's the plan, and that's how it's worked so far. The surgery was recently approved as well. So that means there is an ample amount of study that has been done to prove that it halts the regression. For a long time, Pham had to do what he could and afford what he could to cover the cost beyond anything that was covered by any health plans. It shouldn't shock you that with more money being a big-leaguer and better coverage, he's able to get better treatment/better contacts. He told me recently that he used to have to pay $1,000/pair for his contacts and he wasn't just buying one pair because he went through them so rapidly. Now when he's making more money, the contacts are actually cheaper because the tech and manufacturing has improved. "Ironic," he said. "I know."
Have never, in the course of many years of covering him, heard him cuss that much in the course of an interview. Have heard his frustration. Have covered all those twists and turns of his career. It was interesting to read more about his mom and more about his youth. That has always been a story that I felt could be told better with the time to work on it -- and that I should have told better.