March 13: Q of the Day
If they don’t make the team out of Spring Training, will veterans like Scott Linebrink and Koyie Hill head to Triple-A Memphis or be released?
— Justin M., Memphis, Tenn.
Hill, who is one of three catchers being considered for the backup catcher’s job, has a clause in his contract that says he can ask to be released if not on a Major League roster on June 1. That means that if the Cardinals don’t put him on the 25-man roster for the start of the season, Hill will be headed for Memphis.
I’m not aware of details in Linebrink’s Minor League contract, but he could very well have a similar clause that he might even be able to trigger earlier. He has not pitched in the Minors since 2003, so I have a hard time imagining that Linebrink would head to Triple-A if he’s not part of the Cardinals’ bullpen.
Both veterans certainly still have a chance at landing a spot on the Opening Day roster, and Linebrink’s chances would seem to improve if Lance Lynn does have to begin the year in the rotation. Linebrink has so far pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings in spring. As for the catching battle, it’s been challenging to get a read on exactly what the Cardinals are thinking. Each of the three candidates has different strengths/weaknesses; Hill would be the guy to go to if the Cardinals opt to weigh big league experience heavily in their decision.
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