Day 6: ‘Bird Seed
The conditions were much improved for Saturday’s workout, which extended past 1 p.m. ET for the first time this spring. One of the reasons why the day was long was because of the inclusion of live batting practice. Let me first set the record straight on this whole live batting practice thing, because most assume that any description involving BP must highlight the hitters. Not this.
Live BP is as much (and most would argue, more) about the pitchers. Instead of throwing a bullpen session on a mound off to the side, pitchers can see deliver their pitches with a hitter in the box. Many times hitters don’t even swing; when balls do go in play, usually the contact isn’t all that great. The benefit of all this for the hitters is that they get to track live pitching. It’s good to get that in before facing pitching during games.
I hope that clears up some confusion on the apparently perplexing topic.
As for other news, notes and observations for the day:
- The seven pitchers to throw live BP today were: Jaime Garcia, Randy Choate, Shelby Miller, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski and Kevin Siegrist. All of the position players participated in the rotation.
- Other pitchers continued their work on the side mound. Michael Blazek, Eric Fornataro, Sam Freeman, Tyler Lyons, Seth Maness and Trevor Rosenthal each threw such bullpen sessions.
- Before any of this happened, though, the Cardinals capped their pitcher bunting competition with a championship. The final four after yesterday’s round were Fernando Salas, Rosenthal, Blazek and Victor Marte. Each had a chance to lay down 10 bunts today with every teammate and every coach watching (and teasing). Blazek emerged the victor with eight successful bunts.
- The Cardinals will hold a similar bunting competition for the position players next week. Some of the pitchers have asked for another crack at improving their results, as well, so there could be a second pitchers’ tournament in the works. Jose Oquendo and Jim Edmonds joked that the coaches should also have a competition. The rival Cubs actually held a staff bunting competition on Saturday.
- Ronny Cedeno was in camp today after resolving his visa issues. He said he’d like to get a good amount of work at second base this spring because he is less familiar there than at short. However, it’s going to be a challenge finding that playing time. The Cardinals need to prioritize Matt Carpenter and Daniel Descalso at the position. Kolten Wong is also going to get a long look.
- Still no Carlos Martinez, who remains stuck in the Dominican Republic due to a visa problem.
- Here’s an interesting story out of Giants camp, where Marco Scutaro told a reporter that he turned down a two-year, $18-million offer from the Cardinals this winter. Instead, he accepted a three-year, $20-million one to return to San Francisco. If the Cardinals indeed offered those kinds of dollars to Scutaro, it would indicate that, at the time, the organization had substantial concerns about Rafael Furcal’s health.
- The Carlos Beltran – Oscar Taveras pairing began today, as the players were assigned to the same rotation during workouts. Matheny said he will be intentional in keeping those two together in hopes that Taveras will glean as much as he can from the veteran outfielder.
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