March 2: Cardinals 7, Mets 1

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Click here to read the recap of the Cardinals’ first Grapefruit League victory. It was highlighted by six doubles, including two run-scoring ones from Matt Holliday.

Click here to read today’s cardinals.com main story, which highlights the tough road ahead for Jon Jay and Pete Kozma as they try to climb back up the depth chart.

Click here to read today’s cardinals.com notebook, which includes a look at Michael Wacha’s spring debut, Matt Adams’ work against lefties and Trevor Rosenthal’s return to the mound.

Click here to see video highlights of the game and/or hear Wacha’s postgame session with the media.

Some other players and performances to highlight from today’s game:

***

The Cardinals employed a little bit of shifting (vs. Ike Davis) and thrived with a bit of situational hitting in today’s win. The latter point was actually something manager Mike Matheny addressed with players before the game. It has been an emphasis since day one of camp and was included among the “competitions” Matheny added to the workouts in his efforts to create attention to detail.

After Matt Carpenter doubled to start the first inning, Peter Bourjos had a productive groundout to the right side that advanced Carpenter to third. He then scored on a hit by Holliday.

Two innings later, after Pete Kozma walked and stole second, Carpenter advanced him to third with a groundout to first base. That would lead to a run that inning as well.

Little things? Yes. But for a team that knows it cannot count on a .330 average with runners in scoring position, it can be a big deal.

***

Clearly all the attention was on Wacha when this game started. It was lefty Tim Cooney, however, who stole the show with his appearance. Cooney, who projects to start the season in the Triple-A rotation, retired all six batters he faced – and struck out four of them.

“He just has a little bit of something that guys aren’t picking up,” Matheny said. “They are awkward swings for both innings. That was a good day for him.”

His climb through the system has been quick since he was taken in the third round of the 2012 Draft. After six starts in Palm Beach last season, Cooney made 20 in Double-A. Combined, he had a 3.56 ERA, 148 strikeouts and 22 walks in 154 1/3 innings.

Cooney projects to start the season in the 2014 rotation and is a guy who could certainly make an impact in St. Louis before the end of the year. The Cardinals could call on him for bullpen help (as they’ve done with other Minor League starters), but the long-term desire is to have him continue to mature as a starter.

“What we see is a guy who has real good potential to do something nice as a starter,” Matheny said. “He’s got too good of stuff against righties and lefties not to think of him as a future starter.

***

Zach Petrick, winner of the Cardinals’ minor league pitcher-of-the-year award in 2013, followed Cooney with an impressive scoreless two-inning outing of his own. He walked one and struck out one.

… The Cardinals have their first long road trip of the spring tomorrow with a 2.5-hour bus ride to Lakeland, Fla. Most of the team is going, even though several making the trip won’t actually play. That includes Oscar Taveras, who is still no cleared for game play. So why take a full bus?

“That’s what young guys do. They make trips,” Matheny said. “You look down at the end of the bench and there’s Willie McGee and there’s Lou Brock, you see some of the guys that are everyday players sitting around talking shop, talking about at-bats, talking about pitchers stuff. If you’ve got your antennae up and you’re looking to learn, you’re going to learn. If you’re looking to sit around and enjoy a nice bag of sunflower seeds, that’s about all you’re going to get out of the day with a little bit of sun on the back of your neck. And that’s a shame. We encourage these guys to get in there and figure out how to make themselves better. And hopefully they’re all taking advantage of it because this is a teaching camp. The people we have around here can’t help but talk about the game.”

… Right-hander Jordan Swagerty, who has been shut down due to elbow inflammation, was reassigned to minor league camp today.

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1 Comment

Cooney had 4 Ks & 2 pop-ups. Have fun in Florida!i

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