Reyes' spring training regimen includes forgetting 2-14 record in '07

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Cardinals starting pitcher Anthony Reyes watched a grand slam leave the park during a game last season. Once considered the top pitching prospect in the Cardinals' organization, Reyes has fallen on hard times. (Associated Press file)

JUPITER, Fla. -- St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Anthony Reyes is hoping the work he did during the offseason will help him forget about his disappointing 2007 season.

During his first season as a starter in 2006, Reyes had a 5-8 record and a 5.06 ERA, which was enough potential to get him named to the starting rotation early in the spring of 2007. But in 20 starts last season, he had a 2-14 record and a 6.04 ERA.

"I don't think I'm ever going to look back on that year, just move forward," he said Monday at spring training. "The stuff I take out of it is the mental side, just being able to go out there and not have your best stuff every day and still compete. Now, I'm going to do my best and earn my spot like everyone else."

His chance to make the starting rotation improved Sunday when pitching coach Dave Duncan said that offseason acquisition Matt Clement likely doesn't have enough strength in his surgically-repaired throwing arm to be ready for the starting rotation when the season opens.

For now, that means the Cardinals have two clear openings in the rotation. Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper and Joel Pineiro are the likely choices for the top three spots while Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder still are recovering from injuries.

Reyes, whose main competition is Brad Thompson and Todd Wellemeyer, looks leaner and more fit than last spring.

He spent the offseason changing his conditioning with the help of new trainer Jim Moss, who is a SWAT team member for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and also trains Cardinals teammate Skip Schumaker.

Reyes also took advice from his former University of Southern California pitching coach, Tom House, while home for the offseason.

"He saw me doing one thing, playing catch, and he told me to stop doing it. He thought I was flying open," Reyes said. "That fixed a problem immediately."

Cards manager Tony La Russa said he liked the recent work he saw from Reyes.

"The first day he threw, he looked impressive. He threw the ball well," La Russa said.

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