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the cards host baltimore today; i think it's wellemeyer's turn to pitch. there'll be an audio feed (don't know if it's our side's voices or the orioles'), and the gameday link is here.

you've been hearing about it for over a year; you've seen it live over at Athletics Nation; you've been dreaming of the day. well, that day is finally near at hand. the long-promised, long-time-coming upgrades to Viva El Birdos are about to roll out. we'll migrate over to the new platform this Saturday. the site will be down temporarily --- an hour or two, roughly --- while all the archives get dumped off the current server and onto a new one. once that happens, we'll reappear with some simple instructions for how to use and enjoy the new blog. the content's not going to change, and the community-oriented features are only going to change for the better. the site'll look different too, but we'll have the same logo, same colors, same daily photos of mostly nude swimsuit models and chippendales. i don't promise that it'll be 100 percent painless, but the switchover at Ath-a-letics Nation produced a very low rate of casualties. another site is going to migrate today (and please don't go fishing around for it; we don't want to burden the transition with a bunch of looky-loos), so the programming team will have two previous rounds of debugging under their belts before they get to us.

that's the big news of saturday. the big news of today: pineiro's shoulder still ain't right. he cut short a side session sunday and saw a doc yesterday; we might, or might not, get more details today. anybody sorry the cards didn't sign ponson when they had the chance? . . . . . . . me either. the only pitcher i'd rather have than the in-house options is kyle lohse, and it doesn't sound as if pineiro's injury is significant enough --- yet --- to trigger the $5m-ish expenditure it would take to get lohse. the latest rumor on him --- a faint one --- linked lohse to the giants, who've lost noah lowry to a wrist injury. the orioles also have reportedly sniffed, and you still occasionally hear that the mets are gonna sign him, but there's not a stampede to the guy's door. anything but. there's obviously something more here than meets the eye.

it's not clear how much time (if any) pineiro will miss, but i doubt he's gonna make 30 starts this year. as per usual the team is downplaying the injury; nothing to worry about, just a little stiffness. and maybe that's all it is --- maybe. but we've been through this before, haven't we . . . . . if pineiro's health problems sideline him for any length of time, we're likely gonna see mike parisi in the rotation alongside reyes and brad thompson; and if it comes to that, then let's just go whole hog w/ the rebuilding, shall we? stick brendan ryan out there every day, keep brian barton on the roster, toss rasmus into the fray there as soon as is practical, and get on with the growing pains. in my season preview for The Hardball Times (which posted this morning ---- read it here) i noted how reluctant the organization has been to acknowledge that it's rebuilding --- hence the rehiring of la russa, the juan gone experiment, the aaron miles reprise, etc etc. i even used barton / gonzalez as a metaphor --- the one symbolizing an uncertain but hopeful future, the other symbolizing past glories that can't be restored. i've never considered pineiro integral to either phase --- the past nor the future. stand by to find out whether he's integral to the present. . . . .

speaking of the Hardball Times preview: it's nl central week over there. in addition to my look at the cards, the last couple days have featured articles about the reds, the cubs, and the brewers. regarding the latter: ned yost has made official his plans to bat the pitcher eighth this year. i love how he explains the rationale:

"We've done studies on this," Yost said. "It's not just that we come up one day and say, 'You know, Jason Kendall's gonna hit ninth.' You've had a lot of smart people looking at it and crunching numbers and seeing if, numbers-wise, it made sense."
translation: this wasn't really my idea, it was those smart people. yost wants no part of either the credit nor the blame here. if the unconventional lineup works out, then god bless the smart people; what do i know, i'm just an old ballplayer. and if it doesn't work out? well, smart people don't always know everything. . . . .

one last item for the morning: Batter's Box has a list of the vegas over / unders. the cardinals' figure is 78.5 wins. anybody taking the over? i'm gonna put up a poll on the sidebar. . . . . see you thursday.