Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Osborne Returns to the Mound with 2 Shutout Innings vs. Twins

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Osborne Returns to the Mound with 2 Shutout Innings vs. Twins

Article excerpt

Donovan Osborne, who seems forever to be coming back from injury, made yet another debut Sunday.

After missing much of spring training with a cracked rib suffered in an auto crash, Osborne pitched competitively for the first time this spring. The results were smashing. He fanned two and got a double-play ball in two scoreless innings as the Cardinals beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1, evening their exhibition record at 12-12.

Osborne had missed all of the 1994 season after shoulder surgery and then two months in 1995 with elbow problems. "I had some bad karma running around," said Osborne, who also sprained his ankle this spring.

The lefthander had been brought along slowly, but after an impressive batting practice stint Thursday, pitching coach Dave Duncan deemed him ready for a game appearance.

"I was a little nervous at the start," Osborne said. "But I felt good. That curveball that I worked on in the off-season was nasty."

Manager Tony La Russa and Duncan have Osborne penciled in for a start two weeks into the season, which is about Osborne's target. "Spring training started for me today," he said. "But I didn't miss much."

La Russa said Osborne probably would pitch a game at the minor-league complex Friday after the rest of the team goes north. In his first sighting of Osborne actually pitching, La Russa was markedly impressed.

"That's exciting," La Russa said. "There are several ways he can get a hitter out. It looks like he's got four pitches."

Todd Stottlemyre tacked on 6 1/3 innings of three-hit relief, striking out five, before T.J. Mathews finished up.

"Today I changed speeds as well as I ever had," Stottlemyre said. "And my concentration was at its peak."

La Russa thought the Cardinals played their best game of the spring Sunday. "We had nine innings of good at-bats," he said. "The pitching was good . . .

"The problem is that it's over. We've got Melido Perez (of the New York Yankees) looking at us tomorrow."

Cardinals catcher Tom Pagnozzi, who was disabled with wrist and knee problems last season, is to have a magnetic resonance imaging exam today to determine the severity of a left wrist injury. …

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