Carp and Ankiel Return, Ludwick Still a Week Away

Justin HulseyCorrespondent IMay 20, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 9:  Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 9, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Pirates 2-1.  (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

*Posted May 20th on Cardinals Front Office.. To view this article in its entirety, click on the link below*

Last night’s post was written out of pure frustration. Tonight’s post is written out of excitement.

If you did not get a chance to watch the game tonight, it was MUCH better than the past week of baseball. While the box score says five hits, they were against a VERY underrated Ted Lilly. We were in control the entire game after a RBI single from Yadier Molina in the 1st inning.

After that, Pineiro took the game into his own hands and held on tight. Pineiro recorded his first complete game since 2003. All while allowing only three hits and… umm… NO runs. 92 pitches is all Joel needed while he blanked our rival Cubs, bringing his season ERA down to 3.50. Pineiro impressed us all tonight, and may have revived our team.

Our play was A+ tonight, and while that is awesome, there is even more to get excited about. As we get ready for Game 2, two of our main men will get ready to get off that dreaded Disabled List.

Both Chris Carpenter and Rick Ankiel will be activated tomorrow, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Everybody was waiting for tomorrow to pick up our team. Well, after tonight, our team is already picked up… Now, it’s only going to be held higher. Have you ever picked up your paycheck on the same day you get promoted? It feels good doesn’t it?

Not only will Carp be activated tomorrow, he will take the mound for the first time in over a month. The Cubs lineup is very similar to ours over the weekend, so expect a good outing.

A light bullpen session on Sunday (80 pitches) confirmed is readiness. He is coming back a little earlier than most expected. Only a week ago, we were guessing a start a series or two from now. Let’s hope we aren’t rushing him, but several successful BPS should have cleared all doubt.

Carp was injured while batting and suffered from a strained ribcage muscle… nowhere near the arm. It will be interesting the approach the team takes when Chris comes up to bat, but he vows that he “expects to hit like before”. There was talk of LaRussa just having Carp up there to try and draw a walk, but the former Cy Young award-winner says he won’t give the opposition anything.

Rick Ankiel will also be activated 15 days after his terrifying collision with the wall. He was first said to get through the injury without DL, so I would assume he is nothing if not ready. However, LaRussa is taking all precaution and wants Rick’s game to be evaluated before he is put in a game situation.

Ank will be activated tomorrow, but he won’t start. I would say he is unavailable until TLR and crew can make sure he is 100%. Everything should be back to normal by the end of the week.

The other third of the equation, Ryan Ludwick, is still at least eight days from activation, but is reportedly “healing very quickly”.

Studwick took swings off a tee on Friday and is expected to play some rehab games in the minors while still on DL. According to what I am reading, Ludwick is getting better and better every day. That is a HUGE relief considering a familiar injury sidelined Ryan for over a year when he was in the Indian’s organization.

It is no doubt that our team struggles without these guys, and we will take a full 180 when we get all three back. If you look at their 160-game averages, it shows the impact of these fine players.

Carpenter: 3.99 ERA, 15 wins, 170 SO
Ankiel: .260 AVG, 27 HR, 88 RBI
Ludwick: .273 AVG, 29 HR, 96 RBI

I difference? I would think so. Especially considering that these guys are replacing Boggs, Robinson, and Stavinoha. Wow. That puts into perspective doesn’t it.

So who is sent to AAA when Carp and Ankiel are brought back tomorrow? Here are the candidates.


Blaine Boyer
Boyer is having a hard time lately, giving up four runs in his previous two outings. Boyer has been difficult to read so far. I think I would keep him up and see what happens. He has shown serious promise this year… we can’t deny him that. He did have seven consecutive outings without a single hit! Yes, check it yourself… 5.2 no-hit innings. No runs either. Boyer has been struggling, but I think we keep him in there.

Todd Wellemeyer
This is a hard one. Wellemeyer has definitely been our worst pitcher in the past week or so, but I doubt if MO wants to send him down. For one, we would need to bring up another starter to fill his rotation spot (only four-man rotation right now). Two, Wellemeyer is “worth” $4 million and that is tough to send down. Besides the financial reasons, Wellemeyer did pitch a fantastic 2008. This is a different season, but Todalion had a 3.70 ERA last year and was MLB pitcher of the month for May. There is still something there, believe it or not. An MLB pitcher doesn’t just wake up as a bad pitcher a year after being a really good one.

IF I was John Mozeliak, I would send down…

Brad Thompson
Let’s be honest here. Do we need Thompson? Hell, we don’t even use him. He has made two appearances in the past 11 games. While he has not done terrible in those outings, we don’t really need him. The best thing for Thompson to do is head to Memphis, polish his game, and get ready to open some eyes in his next chance. There will be one.



Joe Thurston
To be fair, Thurston is our worst hitter. He is a likable guys, I suppose, but he is just not an MLB player. In fact, at the plate, he is terrible. Thurston is an average AAA player, and in all honestly, that’s where he should be. However, we have very little infield depth right now with Khalil Greene basically inactive. Unless we would bring up another AAA infielder, Thurston has to stay. Should he be in the starting lineup? Hell no, but we need him in order to back up our regulars.

Shane Robinson
Sugar Shane is one of my favorite players. He is an outfield version of Eckstein, but faster. The dude is a little spark plug and I LOVE his desire to play the game. You can just see it in his eyes, and it shows when he plays. Just like Eckstein, he is a spark plug for this team and provides life and energy that some players don’t bring to the table. He is super fast (4.2  40) and is electric on the base paths. He is by no means an every day outfielder, but he deserves to be up here for special bench situations.

IF I was John Mozeliak, I would send down…

Nick Stavinoha
Staviwas 1-for-6 before Monday’s game. He is having some troubles at the plate. I was the one who totally supported bringing him up, but he has yet to make any sort of impact. With Ankiel coming back, we would likely have to get rid of an OFer in return, and this is the guy. I would not be surprised if Sugar Shane Robinson is the guy instead, but just like Thompson, do we need this guy? He has had limited opportunities, and will go down due to the number of good outfielders we do have.

*Posted May 20th on Cardinals Front Office.. To view this article in its entirety, click on the link below*