Day 1: Bird Seed
The morning started ominously enough with dark clouds and rain, but blue sky eventually broke through, providing a perfect backdrop to the day that everyone has been looking forward to since October.
Spring Training has begun.
It was a relatively uneventful day, though that’s typically a positive when it comes to early spring workouts. Players had their physicals in the morning, listened to manager Mike Matheny shortly after as he set some group expectations, and then took the field for a few hours. It was the start of a camp that will extend six weeks and determine who heads to Cincinnati for Opening Day.
Some highlights from the windy day in Jupiter:
- Thirteen players threw bullpen sessions on Thursday. Those pitchers include: Lance Lynn, Eric Fornataro, Angel Castro, Randy Choate, Kevin Siegrist, Tim Cooney, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez, Lee Stoppelman, Shelby Miller, Pat Neshek, Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales. (Pictured above are Neshek, Miller, Lyons and Gonzales)
- Those pitchers who did not throw spent time in fielding drills. They will throw off the mound tomorrow.
- Sam Gaviglio, despite some travel problems yesterday, did make it to camp in time to participate. That left Jose Almarante as the only absence. The Cardinals do not know how long visa issues will hold Almarante back in the Dominican Republic. You might remember that Martinez’s arrival last spring was delayed more than a month with the same problems.
- The position players who are already in town took batting practice and participated in fielding drills. Catchers dealt with the pop-up machine on a day when winds were gusting. It was cruel timing, for sure.
- The preferred activity, though, seems to be the one in the clubhouse. The newest addition to the clubhouse decor is a ping-pong table — and plenty of competitive games have already broken out among players. I sense a tournament coming on before camp breaks.
- Jhonny Peralta was a new arrival in camp today, and he took time to speak with reporters shortly after arriving. Then he got a welcome hug from Adam Wainwright. I wrote about how both fit together in this piece on cardinals.com.
- Oscar Taveras is 100-percent cleared for baseball activity, GM John Mozeliak said, and he continues to put his ankle through tests. Taveras is going to be eased into running drills, but that shouldn’t hamper him once games begin.
- Is Yadier Molina ticketed for more days off this season? Don’t bet on it, Matheny said. If Molina is healthy, he’ll continue to be among the game’s most-used catchers. I don’t envision that projection will elicit many complaints.
- Mozeliak said that the Cardinals plan to implement more defensive shifting in the Minors this season as a way to prepare their players for such situations in the Majors. The Cardinals expect to be more proactive in shifting.
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