On a team without a designated closer, the Cardinals have had a flock of righthanded relievers come to the forefront this spring. For example, Matt Bowman is scoreless in four outings, as are John Brebbia, Josh Lucas and young Derian Gonzalez. Sam Tuivailala is unscored on in three games. Mike Mayers has given up two hits and no runs in five innings. Dominic Leone has allowed one run in three games and John Gant has an earned run average of 2.16. Bud Norris, who had 19 saves for the Los Angeles Angels last year, could turn up late, too. Luke Gregerson, the presumptive ninth-inning man, has pitched once, striking out two in a perfect inning. But Gregerson doesn’t figure to be pitching for a while. Manager Mike Matheny, however, believes it will be a short while. Matheny and pitching coach Mike Maddux had Gregerson on the sheet to pitch Tuesday, but he didn’t, and on Wednesday he didn’t work either, with Matheny saying after the Cardinals’ 4-3 win over Washington that Gregerson had some “tightness” in an oblique muscle. The words “strained oblique” have taken on a connotation not quite as daunting as “torn rotator cuff” or “Tommy John surgery,” but they have sent shivers down the spines of club executives and staffs. “It’s a little setback,” said Matheny. “But it didn’t seem very bad. It’s amazing how quick (players are) coming back from them.” Matheny said Gregerson was examined by trainers and doctors and “it came back relatively clean. But it’s something still to be cautious about.
Gregerson's injury adds uncertainty to Cards' closer role
St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Mar 8