Phil Rogers' Whispers: Cardinals hoping McClellan can fill in for Wainwright

La Russa likes way he can get left- and right-handed hitters out

February 26, 2011|By Phil Rogers, Tribune Newspapers

The Cardinals are looking to Kyle McClellan to replace Adam Wainwright, who will have Tommy John surgery. Manager Tony La Russa calls him a "real weapon'' because he can get left-handed hitters out as well as right-handed hitters. La Russa points to Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte as guys who can replace McClellan as setup men for Ryan Franklin. … After seeing them side by side, the Twins are leaning strongly toward playing Alexi Casilla at shortstop and Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base. Casilla not only has a better arm, but the Twins believe he will benefit from the increased responsibility. … Joe Crede apparently is retired after turning down a chance to go to camp with the Rockies. … The Twins might have a starter to trade if Kyle Gibson has a good spring training. Kevin Slowey could have value to the Cardinals or another NL team. … Jonathan Lucroy's broken finger is bad news for the Brewers. It means their No. 1 catcher will be out a month, possibly forcing him to get acquainted with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum during regular-season games, not exhibitions in the Cactus League. Wil Nieves, Mike Rivera and George Kottaras are battling for the backup catcher's job. … Freddy Sanchez hasn't recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, which has Mark DeRosa getting a look at second base, not left field, for the Giants. The Giants had talked about playing Aaron Rowand at all three outfield spots, but he apparently talked manager Bruce Bochy into giving him a shot to compete against Andres Torres for the center-field job. … The Rays are so excited about their chances to compete that they could trade prospects for relief arms later this spring. … Brandon Webb has been limited to long toss in the first 10 days of spring training with the Rangers. That's never a good sign, but the Rangers knew they had to cross their fingers given his history of shoulder injuries.

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