Cards' Rosenthal has scare, avoids injury against Nats -

Cards' Rosenthal has scare, avoids injury against Nats

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JUPITER, FL. ( -- Trevor Rosenthal had a brief scare Sunday, when he took a hard shot off his right leg during his inning of work against the Nationals.

“I’ve only been hit a couple times. That’s definitely the hardest I’ve ever been hit,” he said afterward in the clubhouse.

Stephen Drew sent a ball screaming back up the middle, and it caromed off Rosenthal’s lower right leg. Standing in a t-shirt and shorts after the game, the Cardinal closer had a tight wrap just above his ankle. The ball hit him on the side between his shin and his calf, once he finished pitching the area tightened up.

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“I don’t think there’s anything broken or anything like that,” he said with a shrug that indicated “stuff happens.” “I’ll probably will be a little sore tomorrow.”

Rosenthal, who last year set the franchise record for saves in a season at 48, has worked earlier in games this spring, following the starter’s two innings so he can face stiffer competition. Most MLB-ers only take a couple at bats this early in spring training, and are back in the clubhouse by the sixth inning.

“In the past few years I haven’t faced too many major league hitters, so it’s nice to get in a little earlier and face some of these guys,” he said, adding that when he’s working on pitches in the context of one inning, it doesn’t matter much when that inning takes place.

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While Sunday was mostly fastballs and changeups, the 25-year-old worked on his slider in his first outing. Most of this early work is based around sharpening his fastball, then building up to his offspeed pitches. He’s still primarily a fastball pitcher, but he threw 200 changeups last season and around 100 breaking pitches; numbers he would like to build on

“I would like to continue to evolve and sharpen some other pitches for sure,” he said, though unlike Kevin Siegrist and his curveball, he doesn’t have a specific pitch he’s working on.  

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