Cardinals

HRABE: Next Man Up

By Chris Hrabe
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It would be natural, and perhaps even easy, to worry about the news that Jake Westbrook will miss more time than originally anticipated due to an elbow injury. Westbrook said Friday that underwent a second MRI on Thursday and received an injection to deal with pain.

For some reason though, there is no panic. Now, let’s be clear. This isn’t the same as losing Westbrook for the season. For the time being, the injury is still being viewed as a short-term setback, which is a very good thing.

I guess the point is, the Cardinals haven’t panicked about ANY injury. Look at all of the issues to deal with this year. And last year. And probably (almost certainly) in the future.

This Cardinals team is a team of “next man up.” When someone goes down, the hole is filled. It’s a testament to the makeup of the guys in the clubhouse, the guys coming up to plug holes, and more than anything else, what the organization has developed and cultivated.

Look no further than the Cardinals entire pitching staff, full of youngsters and veterans filling various roles, almost all of them new to the men occupying them. Guys like Shelby Miller, Edward Mujica, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez and John Gast.

Look at the infield, at Pete Kozma and Matt Carpenter.

Look at AAA and AA. The entire system from top to bottom.

Next man up.

I don’t want to boil the issue down too much, because you always want to roll out your full complement of talent. You don’t want to go to the well over and over again, because at some point, it will catch up to you.

Some teams stay remarkably healthy and remarkably lucky. Look at the Cincinnati Reds last year. 161 of 162 games started by their Opening Day starting five. Sometimes that happens.

For the Cardinals it hasn’t. To this point, for the Cardinals, it hasn’t mattered. Let’s hope that continues. Next man up.

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