Insight from Cardinals instructs: 10/02/13

Wednesday news from the St. Louis Cardinals instructional league camp in Jupiter, Florida includes updates on Oscar Taveras, Tyrell Jenkins and Jordan Swagerty.

Wednesday lineup

Early Wednesday morning, manager Oliver Marmol posted the following lineup in the Cardinals clubhouse. Available hitters are on the right and pitchers with scheduled innings are below.

As an aside, unlike spring training (used by the MLB club) and extended spring training (Palm Beach), the big league clubhouse is available for use during instructs. Camp coordinator Mark DeJohn is camped out in Mike Matheny's office.

Following the normal morning workouts at Fields 1 and 6 (pitchers and position players), the group gets a treat this afternoon. The 1 p.m. game will be played in the main stadium at Roger Dean, an unusual occurrence for extended spring training or instructs. The setting should be a lot more comfortable for the spectators, too!

10/2 at Mia Pos'n   LH
Tilson 8   Godoy
Pina 5    
Katz 3   RH
Franco 9   Herrera
Kelly DH   McElroy
Rivera 4   Peoples-Walls
Sosa 6    
Bean 2   SH
Asbury-Heath 7   Reyes
Pitchers Innings    
McKinney 3    
Farinaro 3    
Parra 2    
Santos 2    

High profile rehabbers

I spoke with injured outfielder Oscar Taveras, who is undergoing rehab in Jupiter. Always confident, the outfielder says he would be ready to play in late October or November if needed. The walking boot he wears to protect his right ankle when he is not receiving treatment suggests otherwise. Yet looking at his ankle with the boot off, one could not tell he had surgery in late August.

The timing of his readiness in the winter is not particularly important, as there is no reason to believe he cannot be ready for spring training 2014. Taveras confirmed to me that he will not be playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic, which I think is a very good idea to avoid the risk of re-injury in a non-controlled environment.

As an aside, the irony struck me of both Taveras and Allen Craig both currently hobbled in walking boots. Of course, the two could be among those in the mix for outfield starting roles next spring. A week or two ago, I had hopes of seeing Craig down here in Jupiter this week, using instructs to get ready to return to the Cardinals lineup in the post-season. However, reports on Craig's Lisfranc injury since made my hopes premature.

In the clubhouse, always cheery pitcher Tyrell Jenkins breezed by and said hello on his way to his morning rehab session. Minor league pitching coordinator Brent Strom is most concerned with understanding and correcting (in conjunction with the training and medical staff) whatever may be contributing to the recurring injuries in the back of Jenkins' right shoulder. There is no wavering about Jenkins talent or potential, but they want to get him right.

Jordan Swagerty is not in camp, but instead rehabbing at home in Arizona. Being the second pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery as well as Swagerty's pitching coordinator, Strom was an ideal person to remind us that recovery from the procedure should not be considered an automatic. The right-hander's struggles this summer were attributed to the (temporary?) loss of his command on his breaking ball. Strom expects the former second-rounder to be ready to go in the spring.

Wednesday game recap

During the morning stretch, Steve Bean was pulled from workouts and the lineup in a precautionary move by trainers. Despite his resistance, he was replaced by Jose Godoy at catcher. The injury is back tightness, which Bean assured me was minor.

Game temperature was again in the upper 80s-low 90's. As is usually the case in the main stadium at Roger Dean, the wind was blowing in from right field. As it turned out, a few balls hit in that direction seemed to drop in front of fielders, perhaps unfamiliar with the conditions.

The Cardinals won the game, 3-1, sort of. As the day before, the Cardinals opponent was threatening to put up a big inning when the hurler reached his pitch count limit. In addition, on this day, not only did both teams play 10 innings, the Cards pitched a second bottom of the 10th, done to get all their pitchers work.

Starter Ian McKinney had a bit of trouble early, walking the leadoff man. The runner moved to third on a wild pickoff attempt and scored on a ground out. It would be Miami's only run. After a walk, McKinney speared a hard liner and picked the runner off for a double play.

In the home third, an infield single and a free pass put two on, but a 6-4-3 from the Cardinals defense ended the threat. McKinney ended his day with the one run allowed on just one weak hit and two walks. His fastball was in the 85-88 range.

The Cards welcomed the new Miami hurler in the top of the fourth with their first baserunner. Leobaldo Pina hit a one-out single, promptly swiped second base and reached third on a ground out.

Hitting without gloves, Matt Carpenter-style, Bladimil Franco shot a ball toward right. The fielder seemed to get caught in between as the ball just bounced just beyond his glove and rolled past. I asked Bean and Luke Voit, sitting nearby, for their scoring ruling. We decided it was an RBI single and an error, allowing Franco to take second on a play that unfolded in front of him.

Next up, Carson Kelly's shot to third went right between the fielder's legs as Franco came home. Chris Rivera walked, but Edmundo Sosa grounded out to end the inning. The Cards led, 2-1.

Steven Farinaro took over mound duties in the fourth. He walked his opening batter as well, then yielded a two-out double to right center, though the lead runner was held at third. After Farinaro's second free pass loaded the bases, the inning was called.

After unsuccessful bunts in his first two at-bats, leadoff man Charlie Tilson reached base via a two-out infield single in the top of the fifth. The speedster stole second base on the very next pitch, but was stranded.

Moving ahead to the home sixth, Farinaro yielded a line drive single past short and a popup single that landed 10 feet in front of the plate. On a throw in the dirt, the runner broke off second. Godoy's throw was not in time to stop the baserunner from advancing. A fly ball to center ended the threat.

With his fastball in the 87-91 range, Farinaro allowed no runs on three hits and two walks in three innings - with the asterisk.

Kelly doubled just inside the third base bag with two out in the top of the seventh, but was left on base.

Frederis Parra became the cards' pitcher in the seventh, throwing 86-88 mph. A runner reached when Pina at third made an ole' move on a hard-hit ball to his left side. I would have scored it an error, but I suspect others might have called it a hit. A 6-4-3 was followed by a harmless walk before the third out was secured.

In the top of the eighth, Juan Herrera singled, stole second and moved up on a ground out, but was left at third.

Parra took the eighth inning as well for the Cardinals. He walked the leadoff man, who then stole second, but was stranded.

Ramon Santos assumed mound duties in the ninth. He yielded a one-out double into the left-field corner and wild-pitched him to third. That is as far as the runner advanced, however, as Santos fanned a Marlin for the third out.

In the top of the 10th, Kelly walked and Rivera singled through the right side. A wild pitch advanced the runners before Sosa's sacrifice fly to right scored Kelly. That stretched the Cards' lead to 3-1.

Santos returned for the "first" bottom of the 10th, with his fastball in the 88-89 area. Two Marlins reached on a Herrera error and a single to center, but they did not come home.

The Marlins pitchers were done for the day, so there was no top of the 11th inning. However, the Cards had one more hurler they wanted to use.

Pitching for the second consecutive day, Sam Tuivailala took the mound for the "second" bottom of the 10th, which immediately followed the first one. Tui was both inconsistent and sparkling, bouncing at least one ball at about 55 feet, but causing several swings and misses as well. He allowed a single up the middle, but ended the 3-1 win* on a strikeout.

On the afternoon, six different Cardinals had a hit, with Kelly's double the only extra-base rap. Still, after the game, Kelly was the last hitter in the cages, refining movement in his swing with hitting coaches Derrick May and Eric Pappas.

Kelly, Franco and Pina scored on the afternoon. The former drew a walk to go with his double, while the latter two each drove in one.

Link to earlier related articles

Insight from Cardinals instructs: 10/01/13
Insight from Cardinals instructs: 09/30/13

Look for future articles and a series of interviews coming to you from Cardinals instructional league camp in Jupiter in the upcoming days.

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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