ST. LOUIS -- Before answering a handful of reader questions, remember that to have your submission considered for future inclusion, you must provide your first name, last initial and hometown along with it.
What is the plan for Peter Bourjos? There were a lot of trade rumors at one point, but I'm happy to say I haven't seen any for a while. His defense was great to watch, and it looked like he had potential at the plate.
-- Matt H. Joplin, Mo.
Bourjos returns to serve as a backup outfielder on the Major League roster. He's hopeful that October hip surgery has alleviated the discomfort he'd felt with his swing and that physical improvement can lead to an increased on-base percentage. Bourjos will still have a fit as a late-game defensive replacement. If he can show a better ability to get on base, that could also open up additional starting opportunities.
Would the Cardinals consider using Michael Wacha in the bullpen in order to reduce the number of innings he might pitch following his shoulder problems last season?
-- Steven F., Tulsa, Okla.
That is not Plan A for the Cardinals, who are encouraged that MRIs have shown full healing for Wacha. They also believe they have a better grip on the preventative measures that can be taken to keep Wacha from dealing with another stress reaction injury down the road.
For now, it's full steam ahead with Wacha as a member of the rotation, though St. Louis will be cognizant of his workload. Certainly, if his health status were to change, the Cardinals could revisit that role. The hope is that never becomes a discussion.
If the Cardinals have rotation/bullpen problems, would former first-round pick Rob Kaminsky be ready to come up from the Minors? Also, if Mark Reynolds struggled, could the Cardinals count on Xavier Scruggs to be a competent backup?
-- Nicholas Z., Cottleville, Mo.
Kaminsky, drafted in 2013, is not on the cusp of breaking into the Majors this year. He remains one of the organization's top prospects and had a stellar 2014 season (1.88 ERA, 1.01 WHIP in 18 starts), but he did that at the Class A level. Kaminsky projects to start this season in Class A Advanced, where he'll again pitch as a starter. He could well make a climb through the system next summer, but it's unlikely the 20-year-old will arrive in St. Louis until at least 2016.
As for Scruggs, the Cardinals have certainly not ruled him out as a potential Major League contributor this year. Scruggs participated in winter ball to improve his versatility, and that will work in his favor. St. Louis anticipates Reynolds being productive in a part-time role, but if he doesn't make that transition, his base salary ($2 million) is low enough that the club would cut ties and let someone else fill the spot. Scruggs could be that someone.
Why isn't there a number next to Rogers Hornsby's name on the outfield wall?
-- Bill W., Allen Park, Mich.
Hornsby played 13 season for the Cardinals, but in only one of those years did he actually wear a uniform number. That was when Hornsby returned in 1933 after years in New York, Boston and Chicago. It wasn't until the mid-'30s that uniform numbers were used across Major League Baseball. Because almost all of Hornsby's Cardinals career came without him wearing a number on his back, the team opted to retire a logo instead.