Cardinals Notes: Rosenthal's Return Picking Up Speed for a Bullpen in Need

By Goold, Derrick | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 9, 2017 | Go to article overview

Cardinals Notes: Rosenthal's Return Picking Up Speed for a Bullpen in Need


Goold, Derrick, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


If they had a hitters' meeting before facing teammate Trevor Rosenthal on Saturday morning, the description Greg Garcia expected to hear was "different looking fastball."

"It seems to pick up speed," Garcia said.

Same goes for Rosenthal's return.

After his simulated game Saturday at Busch Stadium against three teammates, Rosenthal is set to return to the active roster, possibly by Monday, manager Mike Matheny said. The former All-Star closer opened the season on the disabled list with a lat strain, but the team wanted Saturday's outing to determine whether Rosenthal could be game-ready without a game appearance in the minors. During a quick session against Garcia, Eric Fryer and Jose Martinez, Rosenthal was put in deep counts and had each of his pitches tested.

If he recovers without discomfort or trouble Sunday, he'll come off the disabled list.

"We ran him into some deep counts on purpose," Matheny said. "We were kind of having him take at-bats. I wanted him to get used to bad calls. Looks good."

Rosenthal went back to throwing exclusively out of the stretch during his simulated game. When the Cardinals were giving him a chance to start during spring training, he used the windup for the first time in more than two years. The stretch, Matheny has felt, gives Rosenthal more consistency. That's what the Cardinals need from the bullpen. The Cardinals' relievers have allowed five home runs in five games including two Saturday and each has come in the seventh inning or later.

Although Rosenthal's role is as undefined as any could be the righthanded setup man, could be a swing reliever for multi-innings, could be a hybrid the responsibility will be stability for the bullpen's turbulent start.

"It all depends on how he feels," Matheny said.

Waino, in a pinch

Bench coach David Bell had to laugh because he saw what was happening. Late in the Cardinals' 10-4 rout of Cincinnati, starter Adam Wainwright lurked around Matheny. If there was a pinch-hit at-bat to be had, Wainwright wanted to be available for it. In the eighth, he got one, singled, scored, and upped his career total to five for 19 (.263) as a pinch hitter.

The Cardinals' starters, who had two of the team's 10 hits Saturday and scored two of the 10 runs, began hitting earlier this spring, and their usual internal competition has been expanded to include both hitting and pitching categories.

"Mike Leake's here now. He drives me to be better," Wainwright said, hoping that Leake might overhear him. "We work real hard on it. It's something serious. We do rib the hitters when we get hits. We talk about as much about it when we can. The honest thing about it is you can win one or two games a year if you get a key hit, a key bunt down."

Duke & Reyes' joint recovery

As repetitive and numbing as rehab can be as he moves from the "throwing phase" to the "mound phase" of his Tommy John recovery, there is something other than recovery Cardinals lefty Zach Duke is eager for this summer: His comrade in arms' rehab, rookie Alex Reyes. …

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