Hope you didn’t write down the Opening Day roster in stone. While the Cardinals appeared to formalize the 25 players they planned on taking to St. Louis for Sunday’s Opening Night game against the the Chicago Cubs, those plans were always going to be subject to injuries the last week of the season. Trevor Rosenthal was being stretched out as a starter earlier in camp, but a setback prevented the experiment from getting too far down the road. That setback has apparently reared its ugly head again as Trevor Rosenthal will begin the season on the disabled list and Sam Tuivailala will take his place.
#STLCards roster plans have changed: Trevor Rosenthal will begin season on DL (right lat strain). Sam Tuivailala recalled from Memphis.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) March 30, 2017
It was the same right lat muscle that kept him from making a start in early March, and this is what he had to say about it then.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Rosenthal said. “But it’s the right thing to do. I felt fine, didn’t really feel anything going into the last game (Friday). And then the next day I felt soreness where I never would be sore.”
That frustration is multiplied by ten now that he will miss the start of the season. The disabled list is now 10 days so it is possible that Rosenthal could be back very soon. He last pitched on March 24 so if the DL stint is backdated, he might only miss a game or two depending on the severity of the injury.
Rosenthal didn’t yet have a clear-cut role in the Cardinals bullpen. Seung-Hwan Oh is the closer, but Rosenthal had the opportunity to carve out an important multi-inning role, getting important outs earlier on in the game. He also could have ended up as a typical setup man depending on how the roles shook out.
As for Rosenthal’s replacement, Sam Tuivailala will get a spot on the roster. Tuivailala has made appearances for the Cardinals in each of the past three seasons, but hasn’t been able to stay. In 12 games last season, he pitched nine innings, striking out seven batters, walking six, and hitting two more. He throws hard, but has yet to consistently miss bats and control the strike zone. In Memphis last season, Tuivailala struck out 34% of batters, but walked 11%. His FIP was a solid 2.95, but his ERA was a very high 5.21 due to a .393 BABIP and 65% left-on-base percentage.
Even without Rosenthal, the Cardinals bullpen should be a strength this season. Seung-Hwan Oh, newly signed Brett Cecil, along with Kevin Siegrist should be able to man the late, higher-leverage innings with Miguel Socolovich and Matt Bowman providing some assistance. Jonathan Broxton and Tuivailala will fill out the rest of the pen.