Norris Learning to Say No

After needing to exit yesterday’s game with two outs in the 10th inning due to tightness in his right triceps, St. Louis Cardinals closer Bud Norris believes he will be able to avoid a trip to the disabled list.

“I felt it grab yesterday, but came in early and did a lot of treatment and just going to monitor it day by day,” said Norris.

Not completely shut down, Norris planned to throw some light catch before today’s game. But he was clear that he would not be pushing it.

“I’ve never really had a triceps before, so it’s kind of new to me,” said Norris. “I’m still learning on how my arm’s going to react in the bullpen and going forward. But the medical staff did a great job, coaching staff did a great job getting me out right then and there and we can monitor it going forward.”

With his success in closing 7 of 7 opportunities and 23 strikeouts in 17 appearances, Cardinals fans have had fun comparing Norris powers to that of Chuck Norris. But alas, both are mortal.

“I’m a bulldog, I want to go pitch,” said Norris, who let those feelings influence his availability for the game. “I told them I was good to go. I felt it on one specific pitch. When Mad Dog came out and asked me how I was feeling, I was honest to say that I wasn’t feeling great. They made the right move by getting me out right then and there.”

Norris was pitching on consecutive days and had thrown 2.1 innings in three days before yesterday’s outing. He said he wasn’t tired, but did acknowledge that he was feeling the effects of the workload.

“I talked to skip about it–we had an open line of communication right there, which is great, today,” shared Norris. “I think it’s hard for a lot of us to say no, we don’t want to pitch or we need days. But we need to be real honest when we can and just be honest about it.”

“Yeah, we had that good heart to heart today,” said Matheny. “I told him those conversations are a lot easier to have on the front side than the back. He’s learning himself as a reliever, much like he was doing last year and we’re all learning the personalities. A lot of times, especially the guys who have been around here a little bit, we look at the landscape–what workload they’ve had and try to put them in a position to where they’re not going to hurt themselves. But we do need honest feedback. This is just another one of those reminders of how important that is.”

In his first season with St. Louis, Norris had only recently taken over the closer role with the Cardinals–all parties agreed that could’ve factored into his trying to push.

“It’s that balance, right?,” continued Matheny. “Everyone of these guys wants to just take the ball and do what they can for the team, but it’s counter-productive if you’re pushing a time where maybe you should be slowed down and then we’re missing time.”

With Norris out of the mix for the next day or so, which reliever gets the nod to close things out?

“All of them,” answered Matheny. “You know I like the guys who’ve done it before.”

That being said, the manager noted that rookie Jordan Hicks could certainly be called on depending on the situation and matchups.

BULLPEN/ROSTER WATCH

Earlier in the day, Dominic Leone was placed on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right upper arm and Mike Mayers was recalled from Memphis (AAA). More roster moves are expected this week as John Gant is making the start tomorrow for the Cardinals. Jack Flaherty pitched 5.0 innings for Memphis on Friday. John Brebbia threw 1.0 innings earlier today for the Redbirds.

photo credit: Jeff Curry, Joe Puetz, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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