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.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.