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juan and done

the juan mateo era has ended; st louis returned the Rule V draftee to the cubs this afternoon. he only pitched to four batters all spring; got all of them out. his fate was probably sealed when he missed the first week of camp due to visa problems, but it prob'y wouldn't have changed the outcome had he showed up on time. tony/dunc just had too many other candidates to evaluate this spring; they also have too much uncertainty in the bullpen this season to carry a player who's never pitched above class A.

here's why mateo never had a fighting chance to make the team. in today's game (a 4-2 win over the dodgers), josh hancock threw another shutout frame of middle relief and has now turned in 7 1/3 innings of scoreless, 3-hit ball this spring, with 0 walks and 8 strikeouts. he may have clinched a roster spot, leaving nelson wainwright and falkenborg (who closed out today's win) to fight over the last opening. those three pitchers have an aggregate march line of:

ip h w so era whip
24 20 5 17 0.38 1.042

that's right -- one earned run among 'em in 17 appearances. i don't care if the stats count or not; that's some kind of a 12th-man-on-the-staff battle.

edmonds started in center today and went 2 for 3 with a double; whatever is ailing him can't be too serious (knock on wood). rodriguez started in right and went 1 for 3; gall played left and went 0 for 4, dropping his spring average to .208. he's toast; it would be kind if jock could trade him to some other organization that needs a 5th outfielder/right-handed bat.