Now Commenting On:

Thompson pitches well, as expected

Thompson pitches well, as expected

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Explaining why Brad Thompson never got a Spring Training start, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan referred to the right-hander as a "known quantity." The Redbirds didn't need to see Thompson start, simply because they're fully aware of what they have in him.

Duncan was right. Thompson finally got his first career Grapefruit League start on Wednesday, and he looked very much like the pitcher the Cardinals have come to know over the past three seasons. He didn't dominate, but he pitched effectively. He kept the ball on the ground for the most part, but also gave up a home run.

"I felt good about the fact that I felt like I was getting stronger as I was going," Thompson said. "I felt like I was getting a better feel for stuff as I went on, and that's a good thing. I'd rather feel like that than be gassed in the third inning. I felt good."

Thompson allowed two earned runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings, but it easily could have been only one earned run. Troy Glaus misplayed a grounder in the first inning was ruled a hit, and Baltimore's Melvin Mora scored on the play. The only other tally against Thompson was solo homer by Kevin Millar after Thompson had been handed a 7-1 lead.

On a day when the wind was blowing stiffly out to left field, though, even that was forgiven by his skipper.

"On a day like today, there was no bad news," manager Tony La Russa said. "He did a heck of a job."

It remains to be seen whether Thompson's effort was enough to get him another start this spring, never mind a spot in the season-opening rotation. The path of least resistance will likely send him back to the bullpen, however. The club views him as a valuable reliever, and has no interest in using Anthony Reyes in relief. If this current pitching battle is close, it's likely that Reyes will start, with Thompson going back to his familiar bullpen/swingman role.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español