Day 1: ‘Bird Seed
Forgive the title if you think its corny. My hope was that it would grab your attention (mission accomplished on that front) and also be a way for you to recognize that this signified a daily spring wrap-up of sorts. Every day, after I’m done writing everything that will be featured on cardinals.com, you’ll find a ‘Bird Seed blog entry with any leftover nuggets I deem interesting enough to share.
Only a few hours ago, manager Mike Matheny ushered his 2012 Cardinals onto the Jupiter practice field for the first official spring workout. All 38 pitchers and catchers participated, and several position players were in uniform, too. Position players are not required to report until the end of the day on Thursday.
Adam Wainwright’s 33-pitch bullpen session highlighted the afternoon, and you can read more about his progress back from Tommy John surgery here. (Hint: It’s been really good). Also noteworthy from today’s camp were these comments from Yadier Molina regarding contract discussions. The cliff notes version reads as follows: There were discussions. Now there aren’t. And Molina is willing to open talks back up if the team initiates.
Other items of note:
- I’ve gotten a lot of questions asking how workouts under Matheny will differ from Tony La Russa. Keep in mind that I don’t have sufficient perspective to answer this. I watched how various managers ran spring camp in Pittsburgh, but I never saw how La Russa went about things here. So coming up with differences and/or similarities is going to be a challenge.
- That said, one thing Matheny did point out today was that he is making a deliberate effort to integrate veterans and youngsters throughout camp. From what I’ve been told, this is not something that La Russa did. These groupings, which were endorsed by the veterans, have already had an impact. Pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins glowed when he talked about how Chris Carpenter called him ‘buddy’ during today’s workouts. Things like that stick when you’re 19 years old. You can read more on this in today’s notebook.
- Marc Rzepczynski was the last pitcher to arrive in camp, though not by choice. His plan was to arrive on Friday, but he pushed back his flight after coming down with pink eye and bronchitis. He assured me, after I shook his hand, that he is completely healthy now. I pray he’s telling the truth.
- Though much of the day’s focus was on pitchers and catchers, position players who are here already also took part in workouts. Over on one of the far fields, third base coach Jose Oquendo worked two-on-one with Minor Leaguers Zack Cox and Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals intend to keep Cox, who was a first-round pick in 2010, at third despite some external grumblings about how Cox could fit better at second long-term. Carpenter is projected to be the starting third baseman in Triple-A, though he should also get some spring work at other infield positions to improve his versatility.
- Carpenter and Cox are among a large group of young position players to report early. As Matheny said to one of them yesterday, “Good decision.” Never too early to make an impression.
- Four of the Cardinals’ five projected starters took the mound on Sunday for bullpen sessions. Kyle Lohse, the only one of the group not to, will throw on Monday. Chris Carpenter’s session appeared to go just fine, though I got my first taste of how competitive this guy really is. When he was not happy with a pitch he threw — and remember, this is Day 1 of Spring Trianing — he’d yell at himself. No joke.
- Chairman and CEO Bill DeWitt Jr. was among the front office members roaming around the fields on Sunday.
- The following 15 pitchers threw their first bullpen sessions on Sunday: Chris Carpenter, Lance Lynn, Tyrell Jenkins, Joe Kelly, Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal, Jordan Swagerty, Jaime Garcia, Brandon Dickson, Sam Freeman, John Gast, Jake Westbrook, Kyle McClellan, Fernando Salas.
- The following 15 pitchers are scheduled to throw their first bullpen sessions on Monday: Kyle Lohse, Marc Rzepczynski, Adam Reifer, Maikel Cleto, Adam Ottavino, Chuckie Fick, R.J. Swindle, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Scott Linebrink, Eduardo Sanchez, Kevin Siegrest, J.C. Romero, Victor Marte, Nick Greenwood.
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