GM downplays odds of Cardinals re-signing Kyle Lohse after Chris Carpenter’s setback

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Today’s news that Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch in 2013 and may end up retiring seemingly opens the door for the Cardinals to bring back Kyle Lohse.

After all, Lohse remains unsigned as the draft pick compensation attached to his free agency has scared teams off and the Cardinals wouldn’t have to forfeit a pick to welcome him back (although they would be forfeiting whatever pick they might end up with if he signed elsewhere).

However, when asked about that possibility general manager John Mozeliak said: “Right now, we’re comfortable with what we have.” When pressed further, he said: “I don’t want to get into specifically talking about one player.”

That could change, of course, but there’s plenty of reason to think that’s not just a smokescreen. St. Louis has a pair of really good, MLB-ready pitching prospects in Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal, as well as Joe Kelly who did well stepping into the rotation last year. Those three could compete for one spot behind Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, and Jake Westbrook.

There’s no doubt that losing Carpenter is a big blow to the Cardinals and takes a big chunk out of their outstanding rotation depth–particularly if Garcia isn’t ready for Opening Day following shoulder problems–but they’re as well prepared as a team could be to handle the loss.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.

Cardinals and Pirates prepare to play unusual finale in first-ever MLB Little League Classic

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The Pirates and Cardinals will switch things up for Sunday’s series finale, moving from the spacious PNC Park to the renovated Minor League confines of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Normally the home stadium for the Phillies’ Short-Season Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters, Historic Bowman Field will set the stage for an unusual — and unprecedented — matchup between the NL Central rivals as they take the field for the first-ever MLB Little League Baseball Classic.

The game will cap a packed day for Major League and Little League participants alike, as four Little League double-elimination games will be played in the morning and afternoon before the Pirates’ Ivan Nova and Cardinals’ Mike Leake face off at 7:00 PM ET. Despite drawing national attention, the Classic will be invitation-only, and its projected 2,366 attendees will comprise the lowest capacity attendance figure in Major League history.

The event is designed to spark more interest in the sport, especially among young players, and Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny called it “grassroots marketing at its finest.” “We all fell in love with the game and started dreaming about playing on a field like this at the age of these kids we’re going to go see in Williamsport,” he told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. “I hope there are some kids that we can encourage and maybe give a different look of the game and create some lifelong baseball fans that might not have been there otherwise.”

Judging by the excitement that infused the pregame festivities among the players, it looks like they’re already on the right track.