Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rosenthal Ready for Return, but Is This the Start of a New Role?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rosenthal Ready for Return, but Is This the Start of a New Role?

Article excerpt

JUPITER, Fla. * The long-awaited Trevor Rosenthal start for the Cardinals will take place Thursday against the Minnesota Twins.

How long he'll pitch and if he'll start again are the unknowns.

Rosenthal, who hasn't pitched in nearly two weeks because of lat muscle discomfort suffered during a weight room drill, won't be able to build up enough innings the rest of the spring to establish himself as a candidate for the rotation. That seems set with Michael Wacha's assertive spring. But he should be able to pitch multiple innings, which manager Mike Matheny is seeking from a couple of his relievers for this season.

"Give it a different look more than anything else," Matheny said before the Cardinals' loss to Minnesota in Fort Myers, Fla., on Wednesday. "We talked to him about being ready to answer the bell if we had a start for him. We did have one ready, and it couldn't go as we hoped. Now, it's having an opportunity and letting him see what he's going to do."

After not throwing for a few days, Rosenthal has had two bullpen sessions, especially airing it out during his last one Sunday.

"I feel good," he said. "It's a long season ahead now, so I want to just continue to get back where I was."

Rosenthal pitched once after he hurt himself in the weight room, and he gave up two hits and one run in inning and also, he thought, irritated his injury. He had difficulty warming up that day but tried to muscle through what the Cardinals called "an aggressive bullpen" session against Washington. Remembering last year when he unsuccessfully tried to push through some forearm issues, the 26-year-old said, "I realized I should probably take the time to make sure it's all good before making it worse. That was a good learning experience. I felt it was a good time to take a little break.

"We did the MRI and I wasn't at a huge risk to make it worse. But with the experience that the training staff had had with stuff with the lat," he continued, "it could either be worse than it seemed or take a little bit longer. With that particular muscle, they wanted to be extra cautious and that probably cost me more days than what it would have initially if it was some other body part."

Rosenthal won't be back in his accustomed closer role on opening day, nor will he be in the rotation, which puts him sort of in between.

Matheny allowed that in coming weeks Miguel Socolovich and Sam Tuivailala could get multiple-inning appearances, and it is always possible that the Cardinals look at Matt Bowman in two-inning stints. Matheny said that Rosenthal is "not going to be stretched out" in this first start, and it's possible a younger starter will come into the game after him. The pitching staff is still crowded at this point of spring, and the Cardinals are not hurting for available arms.

The Cardinals are open to having Rosenthal build arm strength on the job. …

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