Day 8: ‘Bird Seed
The Cardinals welcomed Ozzie Smith to camp on Monday, and Smith went right to work alongside the rest of the Cardinals’ coaching staff. For obvious reasons, Smith focused his attention on the infield defense and baserunning work. The latter he did with Willie McGee, another guest instructor who has been here to help. Don’t underestimate the enjoyment that the current players get from working with, as manager Mike Matheny calls them, “the legends.”
These early workout days are often monotonous. There are fielding drills and batting practice, bullpen sessions and baserunning. It’s all about fundamentals. That’s why you look for gems in the schedule when it’s released each morning. It was easy to find a potential one today: Rosenthal vs. Taveras.
Trevor Rosenthal was scheduled to throw his first live batting practice of the spring, and Oscar Taveras was among the hitters scheduled to face him. As I mentioned the other day in my explanation of live BP, this doesn’t always mean that the hitter takes swings. But when you see a Rosenthal vs. Taveras pairing, you can certainly dream.
As it turned out, Taveras swung only twice in six chances. He popped both Rosenthal pitches up into the batting cage.
Other news, notes and items of interest from the day:
- I hope you enjoy today’s cardinals.com feature, which takes a deeper look at three specific relationships. As the story describes, the Cardinals’ three young starters — Rosenthal, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly — each attached themselves to one of the team’s veteran starters last year. You can read in the story the lessons each took from their “big brother” on the staff.
- Aside from Rosenthal, five other Cardinal pitchers threw live BP on Monday. That group included: Sam Freeman, Seth Maness, Tyler Lyons, Eric Fornataro and Michael Blazek.
- Jaime Garcia, Shelby Miller, Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Marc Rzepczynski, Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrest each threw side sessions.
- Matt Carpenter continues to work exclusively at second base, though Matheny said there are plans to get Carpenter work at third base, too, this spring. Obviously, the Cardinals want to make sure that he is ready to step in at other positions, if needed, during the season.
- Matheny indicated that he would release the Cardinals’ pitching schedule for the first Grapefruit League games tomorrow. The team’s first game is this Saturday against the Marlins. That means you won’t have to go another weekend until November without baseball.
- Adron Chambers told me today that he has made a commitment to bunt more this spring in order to improve his technique. He wants to tap into his speed on the bases, but realizes that he has to get on base for that to happen. Chambers said he is hopeful that bunting will help him in that area. More on this in today’s cardinals.com notebook.
- Also in the notebook, you’ll find an interesting tidbit about a sales pitch the Cardinals made to infielder Alex Gonzalez over the winter. Perhaps the most interesting part of it all is that Gonzalez said on Monday that the Cardinals’ conversations with him were mostly about playing second base, not shortstop.
- Players will be busy with photo day tomorrow morning before workouts. They will move to several different stations so that media outlets, baseball card companies, etc. can snap photos for the season.
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