02/18/12 4:58 PM EST
Lilliquist to mostly stick with Duncan's blueprint
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
"The recipe for his chocolate cake is pretty good," was the analogy Lilliquist used on Saturday. "Maybe there are some sprinkles here and there. But the recipe has been good."
Lilliquist has been in fairly constant communication with Duncan since shifting from bullpen coach to pitching coach in January. Lilliquist said he anticipates that those discussions will continue through the season, too.
Though Lilliquist was recently handed the reins to a new role, this marks his 11th season with the organization. Before becoming bullpen coach last year, Lilliquist served as a pitching coach and pitching coordinator in the Minors. Those extensive ties to the Cardinals allowed Lilliquist to spend years watching Duncan at work during Spring Training.
"Dave has been a tremendous mentor for me, even not so much last year, but the big league camps that I was involved with before," Lilliquist said. "The philosophies, the fundamentals are all tried, proven, tested for all the years he's done it. It's going to be business as usual for the 'Birds."
Linebrink happy to battle for bullpen role
JUPITER, Fla. -- Scott Linebrink's trek from his Texas home ended in Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday, where he arrived eager to earn a spot on a club that he had been hoping all offseason would call.
Though offers came in later than Linebrink, 35, anticipated, he eventually did hear from the Cardinals, a club Linebrink had previously identified as his No. 1 choice. That meant there was little reason to weigh the other offers -- San Francisco and Colorado had also made attempts to lure Linebink -- even though the veteran right-hander knows that he is not guaranteed a spot on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster.
"When I would make a list of pros and cons of going anywhere, there are always a few cons," said Linebrink. "But when you're talking about St. Louis, I can't say anything bad. It's in the Central [division]. It's in the National League. It's a great baseball town. It's a great city, classy organization. I've just always been impressed by this team and the way everybody carried themselves."
Linebrink appeared in 64 games with Atlanta last year, the most appearances he's had in a season since taking the mound in at least 71 games each season from 2004-07. He posted a 3.64 ERA in 54 1/3 innings and struck out twice as many batters (42) as he walked.
With all the young right-handers in camp, the Cardinals were not desperate to add another reliever to a competition that will be one of the more intriguing storylines this spring. Linebrink, however, fit the mold of someone who could offer something both on the field and in the clubhouse.
"We looked at Linebrink two ways," general manager John Mozeliak said. "One, I do think he's a talent, and I do think he can contribute to a Major League club. I also think that, when you look at our bullpen as a whole, it's young. Having somebody there with some experience, veteran leadership would also be an asset."
The latter would not be an unfamiliar role for Linebrink, who was thrust into a similar spot as a member of an otherwise young Braves bullpen in 2011.
"I kind of played the elder statesman card in Atlanta last year and that was fun," Linebrink said. "It's fun to have them come and ask you questions. I would reminisce about me and the questions that I would ask of veterans when I first came up. It's an honor to be able to pass that on."
As for Linebrink's competition this spring, there are eight relievers on the team's 40-man roster who were already expected to battle for seven bullpen openings. Lefties J.C. Romero and Marc Rzepczynski, as well as closer Jason Motte, would seem to have three of those spots locked up. That would leave Linebrink competing against Mitchell Boggs, Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez for the final four.
Carpenter could have lighter spring workload
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have indicated that veteran starter Chris Carpenter will play a large role in determining his spring workload, given that he is coming off a year in which he threw 237 1/3 regular-season innings and then another 36 in the postseason.
Though there are no health concerns with Carpenter, there have been discussions about modifying his spring progression in order to help avoid any fatigue during the season. Not lost on the Cardinals is that Carpenter made only four starts in Grapefruit League play last spring and then went on to toss a career-high innings total.
"How we differentiate from '11 to '12, clearly it's something that we want to talk about," general manager John Mozeliak said. "He finished so strong [in 2011]. Was that because of a lack of workload in Spring Training? It's just a balance. Carp knows his body as well as anybody. He'll have a large stake in what we do on that."
For now, Carpenter will go about his throwing routine as he normally would at this time of the year. That includes being one of the 15 pitchers who will throw a bullpen session during the team's first official workout out Sunday.
"We're going to take Carp based on his workload last year and take it as he sees fit," pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said. "Of course, we will always leave the flexibility of tweaking anybody's schedule, not only him. It's all going to be based on how he feels. He's experienced enough that he knows what he needs to be prepared for the season. We'll adjust it and tailor it as we see best."
Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said that, as of Saturday, he was not aware of any injuries or issues that will limit anyone on the pitching staff as workouts commence. All pitchers are expected to participate in workouts on Sunday.
A total of 15 pitchers are scheduled to throw bullpen sessions on Sunday. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright are included in that group.
Lilliquist said that the plan is for Wainwright, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, to be treated as a "regular pitcher in our camp." In other words, the club does not have immediate plans to modify Wainwright's schedule.
FOX Sports Midwest will begin a five-week series of Monday night Cardinals programming next week with a 30-minute show on the Cardinals' January visit to the White House. The special begins at 7 p.m. CT.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.