Interesting new article over at the p-d -- Izzy threw from a mound w/o discomfort today. Obviously, a strong Izzy returning to form on opening day would help solidify the pitching staff, allowing the Wagonmaker to move to the rotation and Looper to move back to MR when, um I mean if, the starting experiment fails.
Nevertheless, I'm a little concerned about the prospect of Izzy coming back too soon. He's a strong, stubborn guy who was hurt much of last season but never owned up to it until early September. He's a free agent at the end of the year so there's a powerful incentive for him to prove he's healthy and pitch an entire year. My preference is for caution and, though I've got a better opinion of Izzy than a lot of people do, I'm concerned about him coming back too soon and either stinking to high heaven or breaking down and throwing the bullpen into complete disarray in August.
The questions are: what should LaRussa's approach be? Once ST gets here, Wainwright will be in the rotation so, who will take up the slack when/if they take it easy on Izzy? Will Izzy's coming back allow them to trade Looper for another starter (or include him in a trade)?