Pulsipher makes cut for Cardinals
Redbirds keep three lefty relievers, cut Jarvis
JUPITER, Fla. -- With nearly a week remaining before the season opener in Houston, the Cardinals have decided on the makeup of their roster as they begin defense of the National League championship. St. Louis cut right-hander Kevin Jarvis on Wednesday, meaning that lefties Randy Flores and Bill Pulsipher will be on the club when it starts play on Tuesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
The Cards will carry three lefty relievers, with Flores and Pulsipher joining Ray King in the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen, Julian Tavarez, Cal Eldred and Al Reyes comprise the right side of the relief corps. The Redbirds will open the season with 11 pitchers and 14 position players, though that ratio may change on April 19 when Matt Morris is activated from the disabled list.
"We just felt that we wanted to go with three left-handers," said general manager Walt Jocketty. "We felt that it gave us a better balance in our bullpen. Reyes and Eldred were ahead of Jarvis, so that's basically what it came down to."
In both literal and figurative terms, Pulsipher has come farther in recent months than any other Redbirds pitcher. He spent much of 2004 in the independent Atlantic League, and he also pitched in the Mexican winter league and the Caribbean World Series. Once part of the Mets' "Generation K" trio of pitching prospects, along with Isringhausen and Paul Wilson, Pulsipher found his career derailed by injuries and an anxiety disorder. He hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2001.
Pulsipher made it impossible to send him out this spring, though. He did not allow a run in nine Grapefruit League appearances. After arriving as a non-roster invitee at camp, he did it the old-fashioned way: he simply pitched his way onto the team. It didn't hurt that he came with a recommendation from Isringhausen, but that only got Pulsipher through the door. From there, he had to pitch, and he did.
"I really thought that they were gonna give me a good honest look, and 100 percent, that's exactly what they did from the very beginning," Pulsipher said. "I've had times where I've signed earlier in the offseason with a club, and you could tell within two days that there wasn't gonna really be a look."
Pulsipher would appear to profile more as a short reliever, the second lefty to go along with King, while Flores' versatility pegs him more as a swingman. Flores has done everything from starting to short relief in the past year, and that wide range of work surely helped his case. This will be Flores' first appearance on a Major League Opening Day roster.
Technically, Pulsipher and infielder Abraham Nunez, another non-roster invitee who made the club, have not been added to the big league roster yet. Jocketty said that the club intends to purchase both men's contracts on Tuesday, the day the season begins.
Jarvis has the option not to accept his assignment to the minor leagues, and instead to pursue other options if he so desires. He said he has not yet decided what he intends to do.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.