Here's this evening's lineup for the Redbirds:
1) Rafael Furcal - SS
2) Jon Jay - CF
3) Matt Holliday - LF
4) Carlos Beltran - RF
5) Allen Craig - 1B
6) Yadier Molina - C
7) David Freese - 3B
8) Skip Schumaker - 2B
9) Kyle Lohse - P
-- The newest Cardinal, reliever Brian Fuentes, is in the house and available to pitch tonight if he's needed. Fuentes said he felt very good in his brief minor league stint. He pitched a scoreless inning in AA-Springfield last night...going 1-2-3. Fuentes told me his goal was to control the strike zone and be consistent with his delivery.
-- Fuentes admits a few years ago when he was a free agent that he was "pretty close" to signing with the Redbirds. He ended up signing with the Angels but he admits he had an opportunity to pitch here in St. Louis.
-- After Fuentes' release from the A's, he says there were about 6 teams that were involved in trying to get him but chose the Cardinals because he wanted to go somewhere where he had a chance to win. He wants a championship ring. Fuentes also said there's a chance to mentor the 2 other lefties in Mark Rzepczynski and Barret Browning.
-- With regards to his struggles in Oakland, Fuentes tells me he it was like a double-edged sword. When he did pitch he didn't do particularly well. But in order to get out of that funk he needed to be on the mound a lot but wasn't given many opportunities because the team didn't have much faith in him. So when he did pitch, which wasn't often, he felt a little rusty and that hurt him.
-- Mike Matheny says it's great to get Fuentes' experience into the fold because this team really doesn't have a seasoned veteran like him in the bullpen right now. He'll be used primarily against lefties at first but Fuentes has shown an ability to get righties out in the past. His performance will dictate how he's used going forward.
-- Matheny says the scouts really liked what Fuentes showed down in AA last night. They said his stuff was there enough to bring him up ahead of schedule.
-- Update on Lance Berkman. Everything checked out fine on his right knee after getting plunked last night. He's going to get some treatment on it today and they'll wait and see how he responds before determining his availability.