Tag:Kyle McClellan
Posted on: June 2, 2011 2:25 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 5:18 pm
 

The ballad of two Kyles, and a Cardinal test

While schoolkids across the land sweat through final exams, the Cardinals dive into their latest test in a season full of them: Overcoming the hip injury that sent starter Kyle McClellan to the disabled list this week.

In McClellan's place, rookie right-hander Lance Lynn will get a look. Summoned from Triple-A Memphis to start Thursday night's game against San Francisco (on short rest, nonetheless), Lynn, a supplemental first-round pick in the 2008 draft, was 5-3 with a 4.06 ERA.

Few pitchers in the game have been as valuable as the unassuming McClellan, who, along with Kyle Lohse, has done wonders in keeping the Cardinals atop the NL Central even after losing Adam Wainwright for the season this spring and while Chris Carpenter battles through a (so far) disappointing season.

"In Jupiter this spring, the sky was falling," general manager John Mozeliak said last week, referring to the immediate aftermath of Wainwright's elbow injury. "People said it was doomsday for the organization.

"To see what McClellan has been able to do, giving us a chance to win baseball games, has been special. Both guys, McClellan and Lohse, have done it from different directions: Lohse is healthy [following forearm surgery last summer], and McClellan came in from the bullpen. Both have helped steady the ship."

McClellan, the National League's first six-game winner this season, is expected to miss two weeks with the left hip flexor strain. Because he had made 202 major-league appearances before this season with zero starts, and never pitched more than 75 2/3 innings in the majors, the Cards figured they would have to limit his innings at some point this season. They hope maybe this will be a natural way of doing so.

"There's enough good rotations in this league, if you want to compete successfully, you need to trot out somebody that gives you a chance every day," manager Tony La Russa said recently of McClellan. "[Wainwright] was a huge hole, and Kyle's wanted it and he worked hard every day and he's done a real good job."

As usual, the Cardinals have had the angles figured. They've had McClellan prepare as a starter the past couple of springs to give them options, and they've been rewarded for their preparedness this year.

"I like him in the bullpen so much, but Dunc has been saying since the first year that this guy could be a starter," La Russa said of pitching coach Dave Duncan. "As he so often does, Dunc has got it figured out."

McClellan had a 3.11 ERA through his first 10 outings, but that swelled to 3.86 during a seven-run, four-inning stint while battling the sore hip against San Francisco on Monday.

Meantime, with McClellan out, the Cardinals will lean even more on Lohse. Fully recovered from surgery last May 28 to relieve nerve compression in his right forearm, Lohse so far has been dominant.

His 2.13 ERA ranks third in the NL behind Atlanta's Jair Jurrjens (1.51) and Florida's Josh Johnson (1.64), and he's 7-2 through 11 starts heading into Saturday's start against the Cubs.

In nine post-surgery starts late in 2010, Lohse was 3-4 with a 7.25 ERA.

"I think he really needed all of last year to recover," Mozeliak says. "It was a unique surgery, not common in our sport. He had to get himself strong to where his confidence was back.

"You see a difference in him now in how he approaches things."


 


Posted on: May 24, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: May 24, 2011 6:56 pm
 

Heath Bell looking like short-timer in San Diego

As the Padres' home struggles deepen, chances of the club finding a new home for Heath Bell this summer appear to be increasing.

Bell is a closer who isn't getting much work, and he's headed for free agency this winter. The Padres briefly broached a contract extension with him this spring, but those talks were very general and have not been revisited since camp ended.

"I love it here, and I don't want to go anywhere," says Bell, who just had a house built in the area. "But because I've beat that drum into the ground, I think people are tired of hearing it."

Because the Padres were 19-29 and last in the NL West heading into the middle game of a three-game set with St. Louis on Tuesday, the reality is that odds of a trade are increasing.

Several clubs -- including Texas, according to CBSSports.com sources -- have inquired recently about Bell. The Padres, not yet eager to pull the trigger, are in listen-only mode and, sources say, want to wait a little longer and see how things play out.

The Rangers, who recently inquired about Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan, are described as simply checking their options while they, too, evaluate how the season develops.

As for the Padres, barring a dramatic turnaround, there will be no reason not to deal Bell.

He's pitched in just three of the last 14 games. Petco Park, where the Padres went 45-36 last summer, has turned into their very own little shop of horrors in these post-Adrian Gonzalez days.

The Padres are 8-19 at Petco, the worst home record in the majors. Six of their nine shutouts this season have come at home. The splits bear out the carnage: In 27 home games so far, the Padres are hitting .202 with just 60 runs scored. In 21 road games, the Padres are hitting .265 with 106 runs scored.

Manager Bud Black held a stern team meeting following Sunday's loss, the finale of a three-game sweep by Seattle.

"I'll give it everything I have for the Padres until the team says otherwise," Bell says. "Until Jed [Hoyer, Padres general manager] tells me I'm no longer a San Diego Padre.

"In my own quirky head, I still think something will happen at the end of the year and I'll stay here. It's wait-and-see. But I understand the business part. We've got to play well and get some fans in here."

Likes: Boston at Cleveland meaning something for both teams in late May. ... Kyle McClellan, the Cardinals' starter who is doing a great job of stepping in for fallen mate Adam Wainwright. ... The job general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson are doing in Arizona. ... Secretariat. Caught up with it on DVD the other night. Very enjoyable. ... The Reagan Diaries. Whatever your political persuasion, it's a fascinating peek behind the Oval Office curtain. But jeez, does the man ever whine every time Nancy leaves town. ("With Nancy gone, I think this must be the loneliest place in the world."). ... The music of Treme, the great HBO show starring New Orleans (along with real actors).

Dislikes: Aw, Animal Kingdom ran second in the Preakness. There goes my interest in horse racing for the season.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Sittin' in the kitchen, a house in Macon
"Loretta's singing on the radio
"Smell of coffee eggs and bacon
"Car wheels on a gravel road
"Pull the curtains back and look outside
"Somebody, somehere I don't know
"Come on now child we're gonna go for a ride
"Car wheels on a gravel road"

-- Lucinda Williams, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road




 
 
 
 
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