I guess anything is possible in this internet age, but this still amazes me: The number of pitches thrown by the left arm of Cardinal rookie Rick Ankiel has become an issue of national debate. ESPN.com is even running a poll, asking fans nationwide if Ankiel should be put on a pitch count. Boy, times have changed. But since everybody’s talking about it, I will too. ESPN’s Rob Neyer has charged several times that Cardinal manager Tony LaRussa is a bit loose with the reins on his young pitcher. LaRussa says the Cardinals are being careful with Ankiel, and with the proper mechanics, it’s safe to let him hurl 110 pitches or more. Who is right? There’s really no way to know, but I would like to see the Cards err on the side of caution, so I’ll go with Neyer on this one. Ankiel is so young, and so many young pitchers have been damaged by over-use. Which would you rather have, an extra twenty pitches every time Ankiel pitches this season? Or an extra four productive seasons in his mid-thirties? I’ll take the longevity. And the pitch count.