What is the meaning of Sam LeCure starting today, whilst Bailey goes against minor leaguers? Probably not much more than an indication that LeCure still has a very good shot to make the bullpen. Despite pitching better than pretty much anyone in camp, he wasn't really in the conversation for the fifth spot and seemingly little has changed. With Leake returned from the Land of the 9.00 ERA, the Morehead State moment may have passed (if there ever was one). Still, Homer Bailey does not have a permanent, year-long claim on a rotation spot. I'd love to see LeCure make the team. He's certainly deserving. If Ondrusek is in and Willis is close, LeCure has to beat out Arredondo, Burton and Maloney to pull it off.
Opening Day Lineup Variation 5.1.2 has been dialed up today. And it runs pretty nice. No one is happy, of course, that Gomes is batting a negative, irrational number in spring training, yet appears guaranteed to start most days and hit in the 5th spot. But cut the man some slack. He's served up some nice surprises in the past, including beating back his splits in '09. Even the staunchest lineup malcontents should be OK with seeing this ol' Namestack take the field during the regular season.
I'm grateful to John Fay for informing us that LeCure is scheduled to go three innings. Considering that starters are stretching out to 5 and 6 innings now, this is an in-between space - encompassing swingman, long reliever, middle reliever, likely to stay stretched out in AAA or long-middle-relieving swingman shuttling back and forth between Cincinnati and Louisville.
Viva le scoreless streak. Go Reds!