We continue our look back at the championship season of 2011. Thankfully, neither of these issues turned out to be that significant, though at the time there were plenty of worries.
First Win of the Year Might Be Costly
The Cardinals won their first game of the spring yesterday. They hope they didn’t lose much more.
Chris Carpenter and Mitchell Boggs both left the game with a trainer on their arm yesterday, Carp due to a hamstring strain and Boggs with a back issue. Both of them indicated that they didn’t think it was much of an issue, so we’ll have to trust that they are right.
Remember, the theme for this year is “no margin for error,” so this spring training is causing a lot of angst among optimists such as myself. Having Carpenter go out for any length of time just might be a death knell for this team. Losing Boggs wouldn’t be a good thing either, though there are other bullpen arms that might be able to absorb his innings well. I’m pretty sure, though, we wouldn’t want to go into a season with Jaime Garcia, as great as he is, as the Opening Day starter.
If we are in a new era of openness as seen by the Adam Wainwright scenario last week, where the club was much more upfront about the injuries, then perhaps we can feel a little more at ease that both Carpenter and Boggs will be all right. At least it was the beginning of spring and not the end.
Speaking of Wainwright, he plans to return next spring ready to go. If it is any comfort, Joe Nathan was back on the mound yesterday just 51 weeks after his surgery, so it’s completely possible. Wainwright spoke to reporters via phone yesterday and said he plans to be back down in Jupiter in a couple of weeks to start his rehab. Apparently it was a pretty bad tear, as he said there was only a 10% chance it would have healed up without surgery. He did the research, talked to guys and, since Dr. Paletta had such a good reputation among his peers (and that he was just across the street rather than a plane ride away), he went with him. A lot of us got worried when he went with Dr. Paletta, but it really seems those fears were unfounded.
The injury bug is still active in came, as Lance Berkman has an elbow has him DHing and staying away from throwing for a while. Again, this is a precautionary measure, but all of these adding up gives a pretty ominous feel to the camp. You hate to see someone like Berkman, whom we are all on pins and needles about anyway, start pulling up this early. It’s not like he’s going to play the outfield all year and not throw. I know they tried that with Pujols for a while a few years back, but that was a temporary measure, not a strategy for the year.
Anyway, to the good points of the game. We got to see Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Allen Craig,and Mark Hamilton go yard, accounting for all the scoring. You take any power numbers in spring with a shaker of salt, but I like seeing Craig getting into the action early. He played two positions in the game and is up to three for the spring, so I think that he’s got a great shot to be a bench player this year and hopefully can produce up to expectations. Which may be huge, since David Freese has now been pushed back to Monday before his first spring start.
With the injury to Wainwright, the Cardinal have shuffled the deck, as it were, and shown that they are favoring Kyle McClellan for the last spot in the rotation. Doesn’t mean that he’s locked it down, by any means, and if Boggs’s back issue doesn’t subside or someone else goes down he’ll likely be back in the bullpen. However, right now, you’d have to think that he’ll be in the rotation to start the year, probably making his first start April 6 against the Pirates.
Couple of things for you to visit this afternoon. First off, the ladies at Cardinal Diamond Diaries are trying to come up with the official 2011 Cardinal Crush that they can adore from afar. If you’d like to help them, they’ve got a poll up for voting.
Cards and Mets will be getting underway here in just a bit. No radio or TV, so you’ll have to use Twitter and Gameday to stay informed.