Marmol on Cardinals Extended Spring Training

New Johnson City manager Oliver Marmol on his career move, the current camp and what lies ahead.

Just two years ago at this time, Oliver Marmol was a 23-year-old infielder with Palm Beach, possessing a good glove but a questionable bat. Rather than send the former sixth-round draft pick into early retirement, the St. Louis Cardinals enhanced their investment in a different way. They made the Florida native an offer he could not refuse – to transition into coaching.

After working as bench coach with Batavia in 2010 and as the Gulf Coast League hitting coach in 2011, another big opportunity presented itself during the off-season. The series of coaching dominoes that fell as the result of Tony La Russa's retirement reached all the way down to the GCL.

The managerial job at Johnson City had opened and Marmol was asked to take over. It is a formidable challenge for anyone, let alone a 25-year-old. Despite the annual player turnover, the club is a proven winner. In fact, it is a two-time defending Appalachian League champion. In a way, Marmol may feel a bit like Mike Matheny in St. Louis.

Yet Marmol has a leg up, knowing many of the players from his work in the 2011 GCL. Further, he and a group of organizational coaches are spending the time between April and June in Cardinals extended spring training in Jupiter, Florida, where Marmol is managing and teaching what may be the core of the very first team he can call his own.

Marmol (third from right) in a "Yellow Pad Review" after a game
Last week during camp, I spoke with Marmol about what goes on in EST both on and off the field. He discussed the camp routine, integrating young players - including those from the Dominican Republic academy - and what follows EST, both for the first-year manager and his players.


Marmol (far left) conducting morning sprints with his "White" squad
Look for more exclusive reports from Cardinals extended spring training camp on the way.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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