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Lohse pitches well in second spring session

It certainly will raise a few eyebrows in Cardinals Nation to hear that Lance Berkman was held out of drills Friday because he has a sore throwing elbow.

The team downplayed the situation, saying that Berkman was only sore after making a lot of throws the day before...

But how about a little good news from Camp Cardinal for once...?

Kyle Lohse threw 40 pitches to live hitters Friday, according to Fox Sports Midwest, and impressed for the second time in a row. He had sharp break on his pitches and fine command.

"He's going to be fine," Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said loudly in front of a group of assembled reporters after the performance.

Afterward Lohse told Fox Sports that he isn't feeling the pressure of trying to fill Adam Wainwright's considerable shoes.

"I thought I was an important piece of the puzzle before," Lohse told Fox Sports Midwest. "You don't really change anything. We're all in here working to be our best, regardless of who is in and who's out. I'm not going to change my mentality, which comingin was to go out and be as good as I could and win some games."

Whether he wants to think of it that way or not, Lohse could be the difference maker. He was terrible the last two seasons as he struggled with injuries. But in 2008, his first season with the Cardinals, he was the team's best pitcher.

Lohse was 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA that season, which earned him his current four-year, $40-million contract. While the Birds will lose Wainwright's 20-11 record from last season, Lohse was only a 4-8 pitcher last year. If Lohse is healthy and pitches like he did in 2008, he'll take care of the number 2 slot in the rotation behind Chris Carpenter... And it is entirely possible that the person who fills the number five slot -- be it Kyle McClellan or an outsider -- will produce more than Lohse did last season.

If that's the case, the Cardinals will still have one of the top rotations in the National League.

"I thought I was an important piece to the puzzle before," Lohse said. "You don't really change anything. We're all in here working to be our best, regardless of who is in and who's out. I'm not going to change my mentality, which coming in was to go out and be as good as I could and win some games."

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