Anthony Reyes throws 6 scoreless innings and Cardinals blank Nationals 3-0 - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Anthony Reyes throws 6 scoreless innings and Cardinals blank Nationals 3-0

JUPITER, Fla., (AP) - St. Louis pitcher Anthony Reyes, trying to win a spot in the Cardinals rotation, did everything he could on Tuesday to make a good impression.

Whether six scoreless innings is enough is out of his hands.

The right-hander allowed three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in the Cardinals' 3-0 win over the Nationals. But even that may not have been enough to secure a spot at the back end of St. Louis' injury-depleted rotation.

"I'm still looking for Anthony to be able to do certain things, that when you face first division teams you can compete against them and have a legitimate chance to be successful," Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "Certain things you need to be able to do, that I don't see Anthony doing."

Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols drove in two runs and is hitting .411 with 17 RBIs this spring.

Reyes has struggled with control during his two seasons in St. Louis and finished 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA last year. He believes the problem has been corrected after a spring in which he has walked three and struck out 13 in 19 innings.

"Compared to last year and the year before it feels a lot different," Reyes said. "I have a pretty good clue as to where the ball is going to go."

Reyes has worked on keeping from "flying open" in his delivery.

"I did one thing and it just kind of progressed and got worse and worse and I never fixed it," he said. "Now that I kind of pinpointed where my flaw was in my timing and my delivery it made all the difference in the world." 

Duncan said decisions on the rotation will be made in the next two days. Adam Wainwright will start Monday's regular season opener against Colorado, and Braden Looper and Kyle Lohse will be part of the group.

Reyes, Brad Thompson and Todd Wellemeyer are vying for the final two spots, at least until Mark Mulder and Joel Pineiro return.

"He's still a young pitcher on the come," manager Tony La Russa said about Reyes. "I see him getting better."

Reyes could be the ace of the Triple-A Memphis staff or be traded if he does not make the big-league rotation. As far as starting the season in an organization other than the one that drafted him in the 15th round in 2003, Reyes said: "It hasn't crossed my mind. I'm here and I love St. Louis. That stuff is out of my hands."

With Mulder, Pineiro, Matt Clement and Chris Carpenter all starting the season on the disabled list, the Cardinals may want to hold onto Reyes as insurance.

"It's important to never take anything for granted," Duncan said. "Even though it may look like a lot of depth is there, there's still a lot of question marks."

The Cardinals scored all of their runs off Nationals starter Odalis Perez, who allowed seven hits and struck out five in six innings.

"He threw the ball very well," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He was able to mix all his pitches and he had command of his fastball. He used both sides of the plate very well, so he's ready to go."

Notes: Cardinals RHP Matt Clement pitched in an intrasquad game for the first time this spring. He struggled with his control, walking four of the seven batters he faced. Clement, who had shoulder surgery 18 months ago, emerged pain free. "I feel pretty good, that's what I take away from it," Clement said. ... Nationals right-handed pitcher Tim Redding, who hurt his back while pitching Sunday, played catch Tuesday and "feels much better," Acta said. "He was examined this morning again, and chances are he's going to make his next start on Friday." ... The Cardinals placed pitchers Carpenter (right elbow), Mulder (left shoulder), Clement (right shoulder), Pineiro (right shoulder), Tyler Johnson (left shoulder) and Josh Kinney (right elbow) and outfielder Juan Encarnacion (left orbital fracture) on the disabled list, retroactive to March 21.


(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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