Relievers won't prepare to be spot starters

Relievers won't prepare to be spot starters

JUPITER, Fla. -- Manager Mike Matheny suggested that the Cardinals have no immediate plans to extend the workload of some projected Cards relievers in order to have them ready as an emergency starter.

That means that, barring any injuries to the five rotation members, pitchers like Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan and Mitchell Boggs will build themselves up this spring solely as relievers. The three right-handers, who all have past experience as starters, are competing for spots in the Cardinals' bullpen.

"When you have a younger 'pen, you don't want to confuse the issue," Matheny said. "When you have guys who are still trying to find their role ... right now we have everybody exactly where we want to be."

Should the Cardinals end up needing someone to plug a rotation vacancy, the Cardinals have some capable Triple-A options, including Brandon Dickson, who could step in. And if there were to be an injury early in camp, St. Louis could still alter the routine of someone like McClellan in order to create another starting candidate.

McClellan stepped in to make 17 starts for the Cardinals last year after Adam Wainwright's injury left a hole in the rotation. He posted a 4.21 ERA and 6-6 record in those starts. McClellan won another six games as a reliever and finished with a 4.14 ERA in those 26 appearances out of the 'pen.