Facing former team difficult for Lohse
ST. LOUIS (AP) Kyle Lohse has cut ties from his Cardinals days, spending a final night in his empty St. Louis home that's been sold before starting against his old team.
By last August, even though he was having a career year, he knew St. Louis had no interest in re-signing him. The Cardinals signed ace Adam Wainwright to a multiyear extension this spring.
"I just went about my business the best way I could while I was here," Lohse said Saturday. "I think I said one time, I can't invite myself back."
Lohse waited until the final week of spring training to get a free-agent deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, festering on the market after turning down a $13.3 qualifying offer from St. Louis after going 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA. He said the Cardinals did not contact him after losing Chris Carpenter to a potential career-ending shoulder injury before spring training.
Other teams were likely leery because they'd lose a first-draft pick under the new collective bargaining agreement. Lohse's three-year, $33 million deal with the Brewers includes deferred salary, and he said two other teams eventually entered the bidding.
"Right at the end because I was pushing we had some teams finally getting involved," Lohse said. "It wasn't exactly a free market. Teams were obviously holding back because they didn't want to give stuff up."
Lohse got a warm welcome from his former teammates before working seven efficient innings in a 2-0 loss Friday night. Catcher Yadier Molina got out of his crouch and stepped away from the plate to allow for an ovation before Lohse's first at-bat in the third inning, and hundreds of fans stood.
"I really appreciating Yaddy stepping up and doing what he did," Lohse said. "I've done a good enough job learning how to separate things and that's how I was able to compete against those guys.
"But I couldn't look them at them most of the time, I definitely had to concentrate hard on just making one pitch at a time."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny visited with Lohse before Saturday's game.
"I was hoping he'd come by, everybody's glad to see him," Matheny said. "Yesterday probably wouldn't have been the best time.
"We're all fans of Kyle and happy for him, but we weren't all that excited about him being in the (NL) Central," he added.