Roger LaFrancois, hitting coach for the Batavia Muckdogs, was one the event organizers and two of the many presenters also had St. Louis Cardinals ties. They are Senior Special Assistant to the General Manager Gary LaRocque and Minor League Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn.
|Pete Kozma receiving advice from "DJ"|
Among the projects on which DeJohn has been working during the winter is to prepare his own tweaks to the Cardinals minor league spring training regimen and along with new Springfield manager Mike Shildt, update "The Cardinal Way." The document, 120 pages long, comes in both a Player Operations Manual and a coaches' version as well.
The intent is to capture how the organization runs plays from bunting to hit and runs to how skippers should manage the game. Much of the work was to incorporate the teachings of long-time Cardinals icons George Kissell and Dave Ricketts as well as secure feedback and support of the major league coaching staff. The goal is to have consistency in teaching and execution across the minors so that when the players arrive in the majors, they will be ready.
DeJohn has long been known for his infield instructing skills and jokes about his brief major league career. He insists he is one of the few players to remember every MLB hit, as he had only four.
DeJohn credits current Detroit manager Jim Leyland as seeing the coaching potential in him. Now in his 42nd year of professional baseball, including 26 with the Cardinals, "DJ," as he is known to all, remains as energetic as ever.
In this segment, DeJohn spoke about the 2011 minor league campaign and what to expect in 2012, starting with early minor league camp and beyond.
Earlier related article: "Interview: Cardinals Special Assistant Gary LaRocque"
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. 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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