Lohse to make spring debut Saturday

Lohse to make spring debut Saturday

JUPITER, Fla. -- Five days after facing Minor League hitters, and 10 days after his opponents were from NCAA programs, Kyle Lohse will pitch in the Major Leagues on Saturday.

Lohse, who signed with the Cardinals on March 14, will make his Grapefruit League debut in a St. Louis uniform when the Cardinals play the Twins at Roger Dean Stadium. He'll likely throw about 70 pitches, an equivalent workload to his previous sessions against hitters.

"We'll see what his condition is, but he threw about 70 the other day, so it's more than just a first start," manager Tony La Russa said on Friday morning.

Lohse had been working extensively before he signed, throwing bullpen sessions and pitching against two different college teams. He threw a bullpen the day he signed, then a simulated game against Cardinals Minor Leaguers three days later.

Now he'll wear the "birds on the bat" and begin working toward his first regular-season assignment. Lohse's second game will probably come in St. Louis' final Grapefruit League game, and he would likely make his season debut on April 2, in the second game of the year.

His exact endurance for his first game is undetermined, so La Russa will watch him closely.

"You watch him," La Russa said. "If he starts to struggle, you get him out of there. If he struggles early, you leave him alone. If he struggles late, you get him out."

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