Lohse to pitch Saturday vs. Twins

Lohse to pitch Saturday vs. Twins

JUPITER, Fla. -- Kyle Lohse is rocketing up through the levels. A week after facing college hitters, Lohse stepped to the mound to throw to low Class A players. Five days hence, he's scheduled to pitch in a Major League game.

Lohse threw 70 pitches in a simulated game at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday morning, recording 20 outs against hitters from the Cardinals' Class A Quad Cities affiliate. He satisfied pitching coach Dave Duncan that he's ready to go after signing with the Cards last week, and on Saturday he'll pitch against the Twins in Jupiter.

"I felt just like I normally would at this time of the year," said Lohse, who threw two sessions against NCAA hitters while he waited to sign somewhere. "Everything was coming out smooth. I felt strong. I wasn't trying to overthrow anything. The ball was doing what it was supposed to do."

Duncan believes there's plenty more to be tapped in Lohse, who has excellent stuff and solid command but has experienced inconsistent results. One quick fix was to remedy the possibility that Lohse tips his pitches when he offers from the stretch.

More important, though, Duncan believes Lohse can benefit from improved preparation and game-planning. And those are areas where the St. Louis pitching coach ranks among the best in the game.

"He can make pitches," Duncan said. "He's not out there just heaving it. Those are the guys that can benefit from having a plan that's suited to them."

Duncan would like for Lohse to use his entire arsenal, which includes two fastballs, a curveball, a slider and a changeup.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.