Day 5: ‘Bird Seed
Today marked the final day of workouts without (at least officially) all position players. While several position players have been practicing for some time now, the first official full squad practice will happen on Friday. The only two position players who I have not spotted are Lance Berkman and Eugenio Velez. The expectation is that both will be here on Friday.
Both Carlos Beltran and Rafael Furcal took their first swings on these Jupiter, Fla., fields today. Their workouts were light, but all position players did take part in batting practice and some fielding drills.
Other news, notes and observations:
- Allen Craig took another step forward in his rehab work when he played catch well after the rest of the team’s workouts had ended on Thursday. Craig, who underwent right knee surgery in November, had been limited to non-baseball activities before this.
- Give credit to David Freese for how he is handling his newfound fame. For 15-20 minutes on Thursday he stopped to sign autographs for fans gathered near Field 2. He started at one end of the fence and slowly worked his way down so that he got every single person that was there. It wasn’t until Freese signed for everyone that he took his glove and headed out to the field to shag flyballs during batting practice. Freese certainly cannot be expected to dedicate this much time every day to signing autographs. But it is a glimpse into how gracious he has been for all the support.
- Lance Lynn (left hamstring tightness) and Jordan Swagerty (right tricep tightness) both threw bullpen sessions today after skipping their scheduled ones on Tuesday. As manager Mike Matheny had said, neither ailment was serious. Swagerty said he threw about 25 pitches during the session and felt great.
- Another seven pitchers threw side sessions during today’s workouts: Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, Sam Freeman and Tyrell Jenkins.
- Matheny’s decision to mix veterans and Minor Leaguers in groups during workouts is having an impact. Today, for instance, Westbrook and Kyle McClellan sat down with Jenkins to demonstrate a grip on a pitch. Know that these youngsters are soaking this all up.
- Matheny indicated that when determining how much playing time to give players in Grapefruit League play that he will ask his veteran players for input. There is no reason to push players like Berkman, Beltran during spring if their bodies don’t need the extra stress.
- Infield coach Jose Oquendo worked with infielders in small groups on Thursday. He hit grounders to Kolten Wong and Pete Kozma for a bit before Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso took their turn with Oquendo.
- Two fields were used for batting practice today, and Matheny threw BP to what could be described as the “B” group — those players not yet established in the Majors. Shane Robinson, Erik Komatsu and Matt Adams were among those to hit off Matheny.
- Catchers worked on taking relay throws from the outfield and then applying a swipe tag. My favorite catchers drill is always the pop-up one, though I haven’t observed catchers working on pop-ups yet. You have to understand that this drill was especially entertaining over at Pirates Spring Training in Bradenton because of how windy that area was.
- You won’t be finding any more Quotes of the Day down here. Matheny has taken them off the workout schedules and will instead verbalize the quote to the team during the morning meetings. Check out today’s notebook over at cardinals.com to read the reason behind Matheny’s change in policy.
- Also, today’s notebook looks at a unique connection between Daniel Descalso and Jeremy Lin. Yes, you can’t even escape Jeremy Lin here. My apologies.
- In case you missed it yesterday, here is more on Tyler Greene’s perspective as he tries to earn a spot as the team’s everyday second baseman. Greene talks candidly about a moment that he believes will end up becoming a key turning point in his career.
- There will be no Roy Oswalt in St. Louis… at least not in the immediate future. Oswalt’s agent, Bob Garber, released a statement on Thursday noting that Oswalt will not sign now but that he intends to pitch later in the season. That full story can be read here.
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB