30 days and counting…
I surely don’t need to be more specific with that countdown, though I will say it’s hard to believe that we are less than a month away from the start of another Spring Training. Hope 2013 has started well for each of you. I rang it in from Wurzburg, Germany (a darling little town in Bavaria), and I appreciate your patience while I was using up my vacation time these past few weeks.
I returned home from Europe to find that the Cardinals hardly deviated from the near-silent offseason they were having prior to my departure. Randy Choate and Ty Wigginton remain the only two Major League signings the team has made to date.
Coverage on cardinals.com will pick back up now — and remember to look for several stories out of this weekend’s Winter Warm-Up event. For those who may have been MIA with me over the past few weeks, here are some of the Cardinals/MLB headlines that emerged after the turn of the calendar year:
- The organization released information about its upcoming Cardinals Caravan stops, the first of which comes Friday. The Cardinals also announced their 2013 regular-season promotional schedule.
- Coaching staffs for the team’s Minor League affiliates were unveiled. New additions include former Red Sox pitching coach Rick Niemann and former Cardinal Jason Simontacchi.
- The Hall of Fame voting by members of the BBWAA came and went without a player receiving the required 75 percent of the vote. Former Cardinals slugger and hitting coach Mark McGwire slipped in his voting total, but expressed no resentment in an interview with MLB.com after the Hall of Fame announcement.
- Lance Berkman signed with the Texas Rangers.
- Kyle Lohse continues to seek employment. The Rangers are among the teams reportedly interested in his services.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak and closer Jason Motte were among the Legacy Award winners recognized by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum this past weekend.
- ESPN announced that the Cardinals’ April 1 season opener against the D-backs will be televised on ESPN2. First pitch is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.
- Major League Baseball announced that in-season HGH testing will begin in 2013.
There are a few news items on the horizon, too:
- On Thursday, MLB will unveil preliminary rosters for the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Several names have already leaked, in particular for the US squad and Canadian team.
- On Friday, teams will exchange salary figures with unsigned arbitration-eligible players. The Cardinals still have five such players — Edward Mujica, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski and David Freese. The desired salary figures by both sides will be released publically; if a negotiation goes as far as an arbitration hearing, it is from these numbers that an arbiter will choose a salary for 2013.
- The much-anticipated, three-day Winter Warm-Up event kicks off Saturday. Additional information about event tickets, autograph sessions and schedule can be found here. And the annual St. Louis Baseball Writers’ Dinner happens on Sunday. It’s not too late to get your tickets.
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