Cardinals likely to start Daniel Descalso at 2B in 2012

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According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said Saturday that Daniel Descalso is likely to open the 2012 season as the club’s starting second baseman.

Descalso batted .264/.334/.353 with one home run, 20 doubles and 28 RBI in 375 plate appearances this year, making 61 starts at third base, 11 starts at shortstop and nine at second. The athletic 25-year-old has a plus arm and good range, and should be able to meet expectations defensively while growing into an adequate performer at the plate.

In 425 minor league games, Descalso was a .276/.347/.406 hitter and tallied 27 home runs.

The news likely means that Skip Schumaker, who made $2.7 million in 2011, will be non-tendered this winter. If the Cardinals do decide to bring him back, he’ll function as a super utilityman.

Must-Click Link: “Skunk in the Outfield”

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Sam Miller of ESPN has an amazingly fantastic story today. It’s about a high school tournament baseball game in Rhode Island in 2006. It’s not your typical game story or oral history or look-to-the-past-to-see-the-future kind of thing. The only nod to such conventionality is mention of the fact that former Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland played in the game. That’s mostly a footnote.

No, the article is about a trick play — “skunk in the outfield” — concocted by one of the coaches. About how it played out and what went into it before, during and after it happened. Along the way Miller talks about the nature of trick plays and offers a good three dozen amazing insights into the psychology of young baseball players and the strategy of baseball as it unfolds in real time.

Each of these observations could anchor its own story but here they form a grand mosaic. And that’s only mild hyperbole, if in fact it’s hyperbole at all. Indeed, most treatments of such a play would be some video clip with a “wow, look what happened here!” sort of couching. Miller gives a more than ten-year-old trick play an epic treatment that is every bit as enlightening as it is entertaining.

Set some time aside to read this today.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.