Matheny: Tough roster decisions for Cards

Matheny: Tough roster decisions for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- With the Cardinals' 25-man National League Division Series roster not due until Friday morning, both manager Mike Matheny and general manager John Mozeliak declined to reveal some of the organization's roster decisions on Wednesday.

"I know it's a hot topic, and I get it," Matheny said before his team had a two-hour workout at Busch Stadium. "It's been something since that day [we clinched] in Pittsburgh where I really have tried not to distract ourselves from getting too far ahead. But since then, it's been on our minds nonstop, and I think anybody who follows this team closely realizes there are a lot of decisions that need to be made there. We've spent a lot of hours trying to figure out what's going to be best for this club."

Game Date Results
Gm 1 Oct. 9 STL 4, CHC 0
Gm 2 Oct. 10 CHC 6, STL 3
Gm 3 Oct. 12 CHC 8, STL 6
Gm 4 Oct. 13 CHC 6, STL 4

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Mozeliak has hinted recently that the Cardinals may be inclined to keep six bench players, which would then leave an 11-man pitching staff. Four of those would be starting pitchers John Lackey, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn and Michael Wacha. Aside from announcing Lackey as his Game 1 starter (Friday, 5:30 p.m. CT, TBS), Matheny did not unveil the rest of the rotation order. He said a Game 2 starter likely would be announced on Thursday, along with other roster decisions.

Matheny described those impending decisions as "extremely difficult."

"I know people have said that's a great problem to have," Matheny said. "I'm going to contend that problems are problems. Not fun discussions when you talk with guys who are pros and, when you talk in different circumstances, you'd probably have them as a part [of the roster]."

The Cardinals had more than 11 pitchers at Wednesday's workout, though Randy Choate was not one of them. Whether that's an indication that he won't be carried on the NLDS roster is unknown.

As for the position-player side, Peter Bourjos acknowledged that he has been told he will not be on the roster. That doesn't come as too much of a surprise given the glut of other outfielders -- Matt Holliday, Jason Heyward, Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, Tommy Pham and Jon Jay -- that the Cardinals have as options.

Pete Kozma and Greg Garcia are vying for the one backup-middle-infielder spot. The Cardinals also may not have room for both left-handed-hitting first basemen, Brandon Moss and Matt Adams.

Yadier Molina's status will dictate whether the club needs to carry three catchers. Tony Cruz, Ed Easley and Travis Tartamella all participated in Wednesday's workout. Molina, wearing a splint on his injured left thumb, did hit, catch and throw for the second straight day as part of his efforts to show that he's OK to take the field.

"My comfort zone with where we are in this is I think we have a lot of good options, and really, it's just going to come down to where people are feeling physically," Mozeliak said. "That will ultimately make our decisions."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.