Full Update of Surprises, Busts and Injuries at St. Louis Cardinals Camp
Opening Day is just 11 short days away.
As Spring Training winds down, everyone is wondering what is in store for their favorite team. What have we learned that could be telling of the future? And what will the roster look like in just over a week?
Things don't always go as planned. For instance, Rafael Furcal's elbow surgery may have the Cards in a bit of a bind when it comes to their shortstop, but potential replacement Pete Kozma has been putting up some unexpected numbers.
Surprises, busts and injuries are all a part of the fabric of Spring Training. Read on to find out how they've affected the Cardinals.
Shane Robinson: After spending last season low on the Cardinals bench depth chart, Robinson is making a case for himself to be the fourth outfielder in 2013.
In 43 at-bats this spring, Robinson is hitting .465 with 12 RBIs (tied for first on the team with Matt Adams). He has even shown a good amount of power with his 3 homeruns (also tied for first with Adams).
Look for Robinson to be making an impact on the Cardinals this season. He's earned it!
Pete Kozma: As I previously mentioned, Furcal went down early on in Spring Training with an elbow injury. This opened the door for Pete Kozma, who was making a name for himself replacing Furcal in the 2012 playoffs.
But the Cardinals didn't let him have the position without a fight. Pitting him against veteran Ronny Cedeno, Kozma has hit .318 with 7 RBIs in 44 at-bats. He's also proven that he can handle the pressure of being a starter.
It seems Kozma has been able to rise above all skepticism, so he will no doubt continue to do so in the regular season.
Michael Wacha: Wacha will not be starting the season on the Cardinals roster. After becoming the most talked about aspect of the Redbirds' Spring Training, he was sent back to the minors. But AAA (and maybe even the majors) are in his near future.
In 11.2 innings pitched, Wacha maintained a 0.00 ERA with a total of 15 strikeouts. He was virtually unhittable!
If there was any question about the Cardinals' first draft pick of 2012, Wacha has certainly answered with his stellar performance.
Ronny Cedeno: Yes, the Cardinals hired Cedeno to provide some depth in their middle infield and give Kozma a run for his money, but the eight-year veteran didn't deliver.
He was reportedly released after hitting .290 with 9 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances. Many won't find this shocking, as his signing with the Cards was met with criticism.
It remains to be seen whether General Manager John Mozeliak will go out and find someone to replace him on the bench. But Cedeno's time with the club seems to be over before it ever really started.
Ty Wigginton: Another veteran infielder signed this year, Wigginton is off to an extremely slow start.
He's hitting .103 and is just 4 for 39. That's certainly not what you want to see from someone you signed to a two year deal.
Meanwhile, Adams patiently rakes in runs (he has 12 RBIs) and waits to see if he'll have a spot on the roster. While Adams is a first baseman and Wigginton is currently more of a utility guy, we could potentially see some moves to make the better hitter available off the bench.
Rafael Furcal: I've already covered it in this very article, but Furcal's injury is worth repeating as it may be career ending.
The shortstop went down last August with an elbow injury. And even though in the early offseason Mozeliak had confidence Furcal would make a comeback Opening Day, the inflammation returned and he's out indefinitely.
Furcal had ligament replacement surgery last week, and Dr. James Andrews is confident he'll be ready to go next year. But some are still worried we may have seen the last of him.
Marc Rzepczynski: There have been some curious injuries in baseball, and now southpaw reliever Rzepczynski joins the club.
His left eye was compromised during a round of golf last week, but an eye doctor has given him clearance to throw, and he has since had a bullpen session. As long as there is inflammation, Rzepczynski will have blurred vision, but the effects shouldn't be permanent.
Losing Rzepczynski would mean losing one of the Cardinals' only two lefties in the bullpen, a speedy recovery is essential.
Chris Carpenter: It's impossible to talk about disappointing Cardinal injuries without mentioning Carpenter. The reality that he may never pitch again has begun to set in for fans, but that doesn't make it any less devastating of a blow for the club.
Carpenter was sidelined for most of 2012 with thoracic outlet syndrome before having surgery in which one of his ribs was removed. He made a dramatic and unexpected comeback late in the season, and it seemed like the Cards might have their ace in 2013. But that's not the case as his shoulder pain hasn't subsided.
The Cardinals have a ton of young arms itching for their chance in the majors. Who might step up in his stead?