"The difference in him between last year and this year is that he is using the whole field," May said. "He is really learning how to hit. He is a guy that knows how to catch, but he is learning how to hit and he is getting better and better every year."
May has no doubt that Cruz, who has experience at both corner infield positions, is a good enough catcher to make it there.
"A lot of people here and a lot of people I talk to like the way he handles the staff, the way he calls the game and that he throws out runners," May recalled. "He has one of the more accurate arms and quick releases that you are going to find… and he can hit."
After being sent back to Palm Beach for the first half of the season so Steven Hill could start behind the plate at Springfield every day, Cruz returned to Springfield in June. By August, he was called up to Triple-A Memphis, where he became the Redbirds' regular catcher, including throughout the Pacific Coast League playoffs.
Cruz' promotion was a bittersweet move from the Springfield perspective, May recalled.
"It was good that he did," the hitting coach said. "It was kind of disheartening for us, but that is what you like to see as a coach. You like to see him go up and play and contribute and do what they are capable of doing."
In the following exclusive audio clip, Cruz discusses his 2010 regular season, his solid work in the AFL and the various Cardinals pitchers he has been catching there.
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