Cards Bullpen still needs righty to replace McClellan

Discussion in 'St. Louis Cardinals' started by truebluefan, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. truebluefan

    truebluefan Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    "As the Cardinals prepare for pitcher Kyle McClellan's likely move to the starting rotation, they must also identify a reliever ready to take on his role as a righty unfazed when facing lefthanded batters.

    "We're still working through it," manager Tony La Russa said. "That's why he's difficult to replace (in the bullpen). He wasn't a matchup guy. He was an every-hitter guy."

    Two of the newcomers who could assume that role in the bullpen threw in the Cardinals' 10-4 victory Friday at Washington's spring facility. Veteran Miguel Batista and novice Fernando Salas combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Mitchell Boggs, an incumbent who is being fitted for an expanded role, closed out the win with two strikeouts in his scoreless ninth.

    As the Cardinals' setup righty in 2010, McClellan held lefthanded hitters to a .204 average and just two homers in 125 plate appearances. His potential replacements don't bring the same recent success. Batista and Boggs both had more walks than strikeouts against lefties in 2010, with the veteran walking 24 in 137 plate appearances and Boggs walking 14 in 97. Jason Motte held lefties to a .267 average in 72 plate appearances with 15 strikeouts and 12 walks.

    Salas, who bounced between Class AAA and the majors last season, held lefties to a .250 average in the majors and a .281 average in the minors, though he did strike out 19 against five walks for Class AAA Memphis.

    "He fits into the equation," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "We're going to give him a chance to pitch as much as we can."

    Following Salas' single inning Friday, Batista worked two scoreless, allowing one hit and two walks. The lefties he faced went one for three against him with a walk. Batista said for the first time all spring he had his sinking fastball behaving and, in concert with his cut fastball, that allows him to reach both sides of the plate."

    Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/base...cle_29d9c951-47d7-5967-a0b9-cba7c7d3f303.html
     

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