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St. Louis Cardinals spring training Neshek

St. Louis Cardinals non-roster invitee Pat Neshek throws a bullpen session at the Cardinals spring training complex at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014. Photo By David Carson dcarson@post-dispatch.com

JUPITER, Fla. • Righthander Pat Neshek, a non-roster invite to major-league camp, pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings in the Cardinals win Wednesday against Boston, but it was who he retired that stood out to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.

Neshek was able to use his changeup to foil lefthanded batters, and that skill could be essential to winning a spot in the bullpen.

Matheny said with lefty specialist Randy Choate as a fixture in the bullpen, it would be difficult to take a righty specialist such as Neshek into the regular season because of how it would tax the bullpen to carry two one-out pitchers.

“If we’re looking at the possibility of having (Neshek) on our club, you’d be very hand-tied if you had a lefty like Choate who can only face lefties and a righty who can only face righties,” Matheny said. “It doesn’t work. You’d end up killing the rest of the bullpen. You’d end up using three guys in one inning.”

Matheny said he’d like to see Choate face righties this spring and Neshek handle lefties before adding the righty specialist to the bullpen.

The manager agreed that the opening-day bullpen could take longer to sort out this spring than last year.

 

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