(Baseball STL) -- Before and after the game the Cards made a total of 5 roster moves. Alex Cora and Koyie Hill were released while Matt Adams, Eduardo Sanchez and Mark Hamilton were all sent back to the minors. That really clears up a lot of the competition here in camp. With Sanchez out, it seems the bullpen is set. Mark Rzepczynski and J.C. Romero will be the two lefties while Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas, Scott Linebrink and Mitchell Boggs will be the 5 righties. On the position player side...without Cora, Matt Carpenter's chances of making the roster have increased dramatically. He's been even better than last spring when he nearly made the team. Carpenter has show increased power and increased defensive versatility (he can play 3B, 1B, LF, RF). Mike Matheny also said with Daniel Descalso showing he can play shortstop and Tyler Greene having the versatility to play there, too, if necessary...the need for Cora was not as great. So if Carpenter does indeed make the team the bench seems to be nearly set as well. Allen Craig and Skip Schumaker are the backup outfielders...but while Schumaker is hurt that opens a spot for someone. Erik Komatsu has played tremendously this spring and probably needs to just beat out Shane Robinson.
-- The only real question left is who is going to be the backup catcher to Yadier Molina. It will be either Tony Cruz or Bryan Anderson. Both have done a nice job this spring and both have their share of backers in the organization. Cruz did a wonderful job with the Cards last year when called up. He's a very solid hitter from the right side. Cruz isn't the world's greatest defensive catcher but he's solid. Anderson, meanwhile, is similar in the sense that his strength is hitting. He's always been looked at as a very nice hitter. His issue has been defense. But that's something Mike Matheny says has improved a lot over the last couple seasons. Is it enough to win the backup job? That's the last big question of spring training.
-- Kyle Lohse went 6 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 hits. He struck out 6 while walking just one. Lohse did give up his team-leading 5th home run of spring but says he is not concerned about it. He says in spring training you are just working on things and don't necessarily throw pitches you'd throw in big league games. He also says it's hard to pitch against player who you have never heard of...much less pitched against...since you have no scouting report on them. 99.9% of the time in the regular season you know exactly who you're opponent is and you have a game plan to face them based on what their strengths and weaknesses are.
-- Daniel Descalso led off and went 2-5 with a run scored. His spring average is up to .326 while Rafael Furcal's is at .211. I have no doubt in my mind that Furcal is going to be the team's leadoff hitter this season. He's making $14 million over the next two seasons to play shortstop and hit leadoff. And Tyler Greene looks like he'll be getting the first crack at 2nd base this season. But mark my words. Right now. I believe by the end of the season Daniel Descalso is going to end up as the team's starting second baseman and leadoff hitter. He, in my opinion, gives the most competitive at-bats on a consistent basis than either of those other two. Descalso may not be as big as Greene or as experienced as Furcal. But he's a ball player and will eventually win over the coaches. It took Jon Jay a couple seasons to finally win the starting center fielder job over the toolsy Colby Rasmus. But the better player eventually won out. I predict the same thing will happen at some point with Descalso at 2nd base.