Day 10: ‘Bird Seed

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

In the blog yesterday, I directed you to this story about how Daniel Descalso is spending time helping teach Matt Carpenter the intricacies of playing second base. The instruction is notable, mostly because it involves two players competing against each other for the same playing time.

Today, manager Mike Matheny addressed the issue of teammate-to-teammate instruction, so I figured I would offer his comments to you here:

“We’re being very clear that we’re going out and asking you to help some guys who do want your job,” Matheny said. “But that’s the way we do it around here because that promotes team. You can talk about team all you want, but until you get out there and sacrifice the time… I’ve seen so many of our great players go out there and their mentality is, ‘I am going to help you, but you’re not going to outwork me.’ That gets back to what the leadership is all about.”

Matheny has assigned a group leader to each of the six groups of position players rotating around together. Those leaders — Matt Holliday, Rafael Furcal, David Freese, Yadier Molina, Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran — were told by the coaching staff that there are expectations on them to step in and instruct, when needed.

“What a great opportunity it is, especially as you challenge some guys who haven’t been there before, the responsibility of passing on what we’ve always done here,” Matheny said. “That’s the group leaders. They set the tone. You can either be a dog and take the cool route. Or you can absolutely go out and push, and you’re going to watch yourself get better and these guys get better, too.”

Keep in mind that Matheny does have some credibility when speaking on this topic. Remember, he was the one who helped Molina during Molina’s formative years. Eventually, Matheny lost his job to the younger catcher.

Anyways, onto the other items of note for the day:

  • The news seems to have spread quickly already, but if you’ve been unplugged today, here is the updated story on Shelby Miller and his shoulder issue. Miller didn’t throw, as scheduled, today because of some shoulder soreness. He insists that it is minor and that nothing bothers him when he’s throwing. The expectation is that Miller will return to the mound in the near future. Any further delay would be increased cause for concern.
  • Seven pitchers threw live batting practice on Wednesday: Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha, Randy Choate, Marc Rzepczynski, Eduardo Sanchez, Barret Browning and Victor Marte.
  • Trevor Rosenthal threw on the side. He was also named the Cardinals’ starter for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener. Wacha, who is the subject of today’s feature story on cardinals.com, will follow him. Both will throw two innings (40 pitches) unless inefficient.
  • Workout activities today also included rundowns, situational hitting, sliding and bunting. There was an extra baserunning session with Willie McGee that involved Jay, Descalso, Shane Robinson, Greg Garcia, Oscar Taveras and Starlin Rodriguez after the organized workouts.
  • It sounds like the Cardinals will change up the workout schedule on Friday a bit to include a simulated game of sorts. Matheny said he has no interest in having the team’s pitchers face the team’s hitters in a game. Rather, he’d likely have a coach-pitch affair that would at least allow defenders the chance to react in a game-like situation before facing the Marlins on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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