Craig's Corner: Cardinals Have Questions - The Missourian: Sports

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Craig's Corner: Cardinals Have Questions

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Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 8:00 am | Updated: 9:18 am, Wed Feb 13, 2013.

Pitchers and catchers for the St. Louis Cardinals reported to spring training in Jupiter, Fla., on Monday. The first workout took place Tuesday.

The first full squad workout is scheduled for Friday.

Like every other team in the Major League Baseball, the Cardinals have questions that need to be answered this spring.

Things haven’t started well for the home team with the loss of starting pitcher Chris Carpenter, who has apparent circulation problems that left his pitching hand in pain.

Carpenter, 37 years of age, held a press conference Monday in St. Louis at which time he refused to say that he was retiring.

While you can never count out a warrior like Carpenter, you have to think this might be the end of the road.

“Maybe I don’t ever want it to end,” Carpenter said in a story by the Associated Press. “I don’t think I’ll ever retire, to be honest with you. I’ll never say that word. There might always be hope. Maybe like when I’m 48 I can come back and pitch some more.”

I wouldn’t put that past him, but what are the Cardinals supposed to do for the next 11 years?

As spring training opens, the Cardinals have one ace, Adam Wainwright, and even his health has been somewhat dicey at times.

So who is the No. 2 pitcher on the staff?

Jaime Garcia has shoulder issues. Will he even be ready when the season begins?

While Jake Westbrook has been effective at times, will the 35-year-old be able to hold up during an entire season?

Wait until you see Lance Lynn. He dropped 40 pounds during the offseason. You’ll barely recognize him.

If Wainwright, Garcia, Westbrook and Lynn all are healthy, they are four of your five starting pitchers.

So who takes Carpenter’s spot in the rotation.

The good news is the Cardinals have a full arsenal of young, talented right-handed flame throwers.

The top three candidates appear to be Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal.

My pick, at least for now, is for Kelly to take the spot.

Kelly has a good amount of experience in the Cardinals rotation. He’s had some solid games. The moment won’t be too big for him.

Miller doesn’t have as much big league experience. Everyone wants to see him pitch, but it’s probably best for him, at least for now, to be a spot starter and work from the bullpen.

Rosenthal has electric stuff. He routinely hits triple digits on the radar gun. One day, he’s going to be a key pitcher in the Cardinals starting rotation.

This season, I would prefer to see Rosenthal in the bullpen. He was great in that role during last year’s postseason.

Just think of the Cardinals potential bullpen from the sixth inning on.

Manager Mike Matheny can go with Edward Mujica in the sixth inning, Rosenthal in the seventh, Mitchell Boggs in the eighth and Jason Motte in the ninth. And you still have Miller at your disposal.

For matchup situations, you can throw in southpaws Marc Rzepczynski, Randy Choate and maybe even Sam Freeman.

Game, set, match.

On paper, the Cardinals bullpen is the strength of the team.

For me, the biggest question as spring training begins is the starting rotation. Any injuries will force someone from the bullpen to the rotation.

Pitching is not the only question mark on this team.

Will Rafael Furcal be healthy enough to play shortstop? If not, I’m not sure Pete Kozma is an every day player.

And who in the world is going to play second base? Daniel Descalso? Matt Carpenter? Or maybe even Kolten Wong?

In the outfield, Carlos Beltran probably won’t be able to play a full season because injuries likely will arrive. Matt Holliday and Jon Jay need to stay healthy.

I’m anxious to see young gun Oscar Taveras, who many say is a future star.

There are plenty of questions concerning the Cardinals. Spring training will provide the answers.

/sports

Area Scoreboard

Area Sports Schedule

Baseball

Thursday, April 17

*Union 11, Owensville 1

*New Haven 5, St. Clair 4

*Pacific 5, St. James 4

Saturday, April 19

Washington 5, Union 1

Monday, April 21

Lutheran SC 3, Borgia 0

*Pacific 6, St. Clair 5

Tuesday, April 22

*Washington 9, Ft. Zumwalt North 8

Wednesday, April 23

*Washington at FZN    4:30 p.m.

Trinity at Borgia    4:30 p.m.

Union at Farmington    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 24

*Hermann at Pacific    4:30 p.m.

*Owensville at St. Clair    4:30 p.m.

Friday, April 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    4:30 p.m.

Washington at Winfield    4:30 p.m.

*Union vs. Sullivan (GCS Ballpark)    5 p.m.

Saturday, April 26

Washington at Kirkwood    10 a.m.

St. Clair at Farmington    10 a.m.

*Borgia at St. Mary’s    noon

St. Clair vs. Oakville (at Farmington)    12:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer

Thursday, April 17

*Washington 2, Ft. Zumwalt S 1 (PKs)

Union 10, North County 0

St. Clair 3, Maplewood 1 (Hillsboro Tny)

Friday, April 18

Washington 2, Sullivan 1

Ritenour 2, St. Clair 0 (Hillsboro Tny)

Saturday, April 19

Cape Girardeau Central 3, St. Clair 2 (Hillsboro Tny)

Monday, April 21

*Holt 2, Washington 0

*Pacific 10, St. James 0

Borgia 3, Lutheran SC 2 (OT)

Tuesday, April 22

Hillsboro 1, St. Clair 0

*Washington 3, Ft. Zumwalt East 2

*Union 2, Sullivan 0

*Owensville 3, Pacific 2

Wednesday, April 23

Union at Incarnate Word    4 p.m.

Trinity at Borgia    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 24

St. Clair at Northwest    4 p.m.

De Soto at Pacific    5 p.m.

Friday, April 25

*Duchesne at Borgia    4:30 p.m.

*Washington at FZN    5 p.m.

Golf

Monday, April 21

Warrenton 155, Washington 157 (Medalist-War E. Luecke 32)

Tuesday, April 22

St. James Tny    8 a.m.

Borgia at AAA Tny    1 p.m.

Thursday, April 24

*Borgia at St. Mary’s 3:30 p.m.

*Union at Pacific    4 p.m.

*St. Clair at Owensville    4 p.m.

Track and Field

Tuesday, April 22

Washington Nix Relays (Timberland won both divisions)

Friday, April 25

Owensville Inv    4 p.m.

Pacific at De Soto    4 p.m.

Potosi Inv    4 p.m

Union at Cape Central Relays    TBA

Saturday, April 26

Washington at Ladue    9 a.m.

Union at Cape Central Relays    TBA

Boys Volleyball

Wednesday, April 23

North Tech at Borgia    4:30 p.m.

Thursday, April 24

Bayless at Borgia    5 p.m.

College Softball

Monday, April 21

*ECC at St. Louis (Split-St. Louis won first game, 6-5, ECC won second game in eight innings, 9-8)

Wednesday, April 23

*Three Rivers at ECC, 2 p.m.

Friday, April 25

ECC at Region 16 Tournament, TBA

*Conference Games

NCAA Men's Basketball News