WHEELER: Notes From Jupiter: Shelby Rests, Wacha Impresses
Two of the most notable developments yesterday involved young pitchers.
As noted here yesterday, the Cardinals are keeping Shelby Miller off the mound for the time being because of some tightness in his shoulder. He will not throw off a mound today, nor will he appear in Grapefruit League action this weekend, but he is expected to throw some today.
The team and the player are both saying this is nothing major so until there is a reason to think otherwise it makes sense to avoid making a big deal out of this. When Shelby throws today it won’t be off a mound – he is in a group of “non-throwers” (pitchers not throwing live BP or bullpen sessions) that is expected to throw long-toss so we’ll know something more a little later in the day. I’ll pass info along via Twitter (@KMOXWheeler) if anything notable comes up.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, prospect Michael Wacha had a really good day yesterday. He threw the ball extremely well during live BP as Major League hitters shook their heads in the cage. In fact, David Freese took to Twitter after practice to give his review:
“Saw @MichaelWacha throw for first time today. Wow. Looks like a steal at 19th pick overall. Stay humble dude, keep working. Gonna rise fast!”
We all know it’s important to avoid forming long-term opinions of players based on 10 days of Spring Training. That’s common sense. But there is nothing wrong with saying you watched someone who looked good on a given day. Wacha looked really good yesterday and at some point in the not-too-distant future he’s going to be pushing for a spot in the Cardinals rotation.
He’s already got the fastball-change up combo, now he’s working on refining his curve. Mike Matheny said yesterday that the curve is better than he thought it was going to be but even Wacha admits that it’s not where he needs it to be. That will be the next step in his development. That and logging some professional innings.
I talked to Wacha this morning – he’s following Trevor Rosenthal in Saturday’s exhibition opener – and you’ll hear that conversation (along with several others) during Sports Open Line tonight.
Now some notes from Mike Matheny’s daily press briefing:
* Originally had Miller starting this Sunday’s game but that’s not going to be the case. John Gast and Tyler Lyons will pitch on Sunday instead.
* Adam Wainwright will start on Monday and while Matheny would not commit to him as the Opening Day starter, Wainwright is certainly the logical choice.
* Even if Rafael Furcal’s throwing program keeps him from playing shortstop early on in the exhibition season there is a good chance to get him at-bats in games by using the DH.
* Oscar Taveras will likely see time in all three outfield positions, though Matheny did say he profiles best in RF.
Lance Lynn, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs and Fernando Salas are the biggest names throwing live BP today. Joe Kelly and Edward Mujica will throw bullpen sessions wile all the other notable Major League pitchers are considering “non-throwers” today and will do long toss as well as their other regular drills.
We’ve got three hours of Sports Open Line tonight so there will be lots of baseball coming your way. We’ll hit on a few other topics as well, the Blues will be right there at the top of the list, so tune in from 6-9 PM for some sports fun.