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Kyle McClellan to get first shot at replacing Wainwright

Feb 27, 2011, 11:05 AM EDT

San Diego Padres v St. Louis Cardinals Getty Images

When the Cardinals announced last week that right-hander Adam Wainwright was going to need Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, many assumed that a free agent starter would be brought in to replace the injured ace. Kevin Millwood is still on the market, as is Jeremy Bonderman.

But the Cardinals have insisted that they are going to try internal candidates first, and we might have just found our front-runner.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, right-handed setup man Kyle McClellan is going to get first crack at the vacancy left by Wainwright’s injury.

McClellan, a 26-year-old St. Louis native, was drafted and brought up through the minors as a starter. The Cardinals moved him to the bullpen in 2008 and have kept him there since, but they’ve flirted with the idea of trying him in the rotation in recent years and that flirtation is now going to turn serious this spring.

He possesses a fastball that typically clocks in around 90-93 MPH, a cutter that checks in at 87 MPH, and a hard-breaking curve. He also throws a changeup. It’s a quality and almost starter-like arsenal of pitches.

McClellan posted a stellar 2.27 ERA over 68 appearances last season, striking out 60 batters and walking only 23 across 75.1 innings of relief work. If things don’t go well for him in the rotation, the Cardinals will probably turn to youngster Lance Lynn. Or maybe they’ll take another look at the free agent market.

Note: Matthew Leach of MLB.com and a couple of other local St. Louis guys had this story first.

  1. spudchukar - Feb 27, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Last Spring McClellan and Garcia were vying for the 5th starter role, and while McClellan had a great Spring, he was beaten out of the job by an even better Garcia, coupled with the fact that he had already established himself as a comfortable set-up guy, and Garcia was believed to be more suited to the starter role.

  2. cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Kid’s stuff dances around good. That cutter he throws has some good action. Reminds me of Halliday a bit. If he pitches to contact and counts on his infield he’ll last. If he tries to gun it past guys (he’s a young fella, remember. They feel their oats at this age. Sheer testosterone could overcome common sense) I think he’ll be on the DL by June because I see problems in his delivery which might lead to landing leg (left) issues. Harder he throws, the more force he lands with and the more likely he’ll have a groin tweak or knee damage. Good luck to him.

  3. cintiphil - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    What part of the game does he remind you of Halliday? You gotta be high. This guy is a sure fire failure at starting. Good luck TLR

    • cur68 - Feb 28, 2011 at 12:01 PM

      cintiphil; see those first second and third sentences on my thoughts on the kid? Read ‘em again. Kay. Good. Notice the 3rd sentence finishes with ‘a bit’? So take that to mean; a right handed pitcher who throws a hard cutter that moves around. Now read the take on Halliday (try wikipedia or just google ‘Halliday’ and ‘cutter’). Kay. Good. See what I’m saying now? Hope this clears things up for you. Good luck KWM.

      • spudchukar - Feb 28, 2011 at 7:37 PM

        This is the same pitching expert who claims Travis Wood had a better 2010 season then Jaime Garcia.

      • cur68 - Feb 28, 2011 at 10:16 PM

        What, the Jaime Garcia who was nearly Rookie of the Year last season? Something like 14 or 15 games won last year, wasn’t it? And who the f**k is Travis Wood? Not the guy who got a dinger off Wainwright (or was it Halliday? There was something about a perfect or near perfect game or something? My brain is drying up!)? He won a game or got no decisioned or something. Their stats last year weren’t even CLOSE! Jeeze, most people on these blogs seem to have stats crawling out their ears, I just assume people take the trouble to do a bit of basic research before they run off at at you.

  4. grizz2202 - Feb 28, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Wow, someone makes a hopeful assessment of talent and gets shot down. How bout you pour some more vitriol on your cereal? Maybe you should look internally at your own life, get off the internet, and enjoy some sunshine for a bit.

    And of course the Cincy fan says that. You get swept from one first round playoff series in the last 15 YEARS and all of a sudden you’re God’s gift to baseball. You should read that “get off the internet, and enjoy some sunshine for a bit” comment again.

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