The first baseman was our first Sunday interview. Though he has an outfielder's glove, no one has told him to plan to play in the outfield. His goal is to break camp with St. Louis but realizes there are others in front of him and Memphis is his likely destination.
The right-hander realizes his best shot is to compete as the sixth starter and believes starting at Memphis provides him the most flexibility to step in if needed in St. Louis.
Manager Mike Matheny told the infielder to be ready to compete for the second base job – but not forget about the other positions (shortstop and second base). The California native talked about his favorite sports teams and noted his off-season went quickly.
The new left-hander said his rough 2011 was affected by him not recovering as quickly from surgery as hoped. He was very candid about his three-year fight to clear his name from a suspension related to taking a tainted supplement. Romero said he was very close to signing with St. Louis previously as a free agent after the 2010 season.
The organization's top prospect since he was drafted was clear that he hopes to make his big league debut in 2012. "I think I am on track this year," he said. Miller believes his suspension last year might have led him to work even harder. He made the same comment when acknowledging the pressure.
While the centerfielder said he was consistent last season, he wants to be more so in 2012. Though they haven't yet met, Jay is looking forward to meeting Carlos Beltran. He also talked about watching the post-season games during the off-season.
Motte joked about his beard, then as not being named closer last season. "I don't think Tony thought it was very funny," he quipped about the latter. Motte sidestepped his current potential arbitration case, saying, "That's why I have an agent."
The outfielder recounted his terrible 2011 head and hand injuries, his rehab, happiness to reach St. Louis again and his hopes for 2012.
The starter-turned-reliever spoke very confidently, noting he was "good the last two years but not great." He says he is no longer going to worry about what role he is asked to play, but admitted he would like to know that that will be. Boggs was asked if he got to know Matheny on the Caravan bus and laughed when telling us that the manager has his own transportation.
The outfielder handled a lot of leadership-related questions, at one point saying, "I've played on teams without Albert Pujols before. I've batted third before. I've played in World Series before." Holliday also noted the team will miss veterans Nick Punto, Ryan Theriot and Gerald Laird.
Berkman was in his usual jovial mood, noting, "It is easier to make the All-Star Team in the outfield." He reiterated what he said last year about not wanting to be over or underpaid as a reason for one-year contracts. On Carlos Beltran, "He runs pretty out there."
The left-hander was very upbeat about 2012. Garcia noted Derek Lilliquist was a "big part" of his recovery from Tommy John surgery (in former role as Jupiter rehab coordinator). He thinks the 2012 club "will be even better," referencing the return of Adam Wainwright.
Bill DeWitt, Jr.
The team's chairman patiently answered repeated questions about the Pujols situation while noting it had been a "pretty hectic off-season." Looking ahead, DeWitt said in regard to adding payroll, "If the right situation occurred, we might do something." On baseball's economics, he noted "the key is to build from within," while noting the new basic agreement is good for competitiveness.
Check back for new articles throughout the weekend.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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