Cards spring news from Jupiter: 03/17/14

Brian Walton's Monday notes from St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida. (Updated late afternoon)

It was an atypical day in St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp on Monday. With St. Louis traveling to an away game on the Gulf Coast, things are quieter than usual on the major league side, but the minor leaguers had their first official intrasquad games of the spring.

Diaz on the move
Accompanied by Cardinals international operations assistant Luis Morales, infielder Aledmys Diaz is leaving for Mexico today. He hopes to be back in Jupiter as soon as Wednesday after securing his work visa. Here is hoping they have an express line at the consulate.

Major leaguers get a breather
The major leaguers who remained behind from the Ft. Myers trip had a light workout of one hour duration this morning – stretch, catch/grounders, pitchers long toss and batting practice, all on Field 1. Group 1 was Molina, Ellis, Peralta and Diaz. Group 2 was Holliday, Craig and Carpenter. Everyone is off Tuesday.

DSL hitting coach
The final job has been filled after the series of moves among Cardinals hitting coaches that began with the departure of Springfield's Phil Wellman. You can read about the other moves here, but the new news is the hiring of Erick Almonte as the new hitting coach for the Dominican Summer League Cardinals.

This is the first coaching assignment for Almonte, 36. The Dominican native retired as an active player after competing in Mexico last season. The infielder reached the majors with the 2001 and 2003 Yankees and 2011 Brewers. In between, his many stops included independent ball and in Japan.

Booden coming back
Tall right-hander Jacob Booden is on the rehab list. He has a small labrum tear and impingement in his rotator cuff. Surgery was not recommended and Booden is looking forward to playing catch Tuesday. It would be the first time in a month.

Lopez not coming back soon
During the off-season, pitcher Stalyn Lopez was injured in a motorcycle accident back home in the Dominican. The right-hander is not in danger, but is also not expected back anytime soon. Now 22 years of age, Lopez first pitched in the 2009 Dominican Summer League. He spent most of last summer in a relief role with Johnson City.

Capellan cut loose
An outfielder from 2009-12, Amauris Capellan attempted a conversion to pitching last season, but never took the mound in an official game due to an elbow injury. This spring, the Cardinals released the 21-year-old Dominican, who had received a $450,000 signing bonus in 2009.

Freeman can't make it back
Left-handed pitcher Ben Freeman has also been released by the Cardinals after a lengthy time out. The 22-year-old had shoulder surgery and was pitching in instructional league last fall. Freeman, the Cards' 11th-round draft pick in 2010, last appeared in game action in 2012 in short-season Class-A.

Minor league starting lineups for Monday

Only one game is scheduled on Monday's camp day, with Memphis, Springfield and Palm Beach getting part of the afternoon off following workouts. Facing off will be Peoria 1 and Peoria 2. Note that Peoria 2 is playing with two designated hitters, with the intent to get players extra game at-bats.

Note that major leaguer Pat Neshek will throw for Peoria 2.

Peoria 1 Pos Peoria 2 Pos
Bosco  7 R Reyes 4
Mercado 6 Rivera DH
J Castillo 2 Acevedo 8
Schaffer 3 R Garcia 3
Young DH R Bautista 7
Altobelli 5 Gomez 2
Collymore 4 Pina 5
Jeffries 9 Asbury-Heath 9
Ray 8 Sosa 6
    Wiley EH
Pitchers   Innings/pitches  
Farinaro 3/45 McKinney 2/25
J Perez 2/35 Neshek  
Foody 2/35 D Martinez 2/35
Paredes 1/25 Silva 2/35
    Escudero 1/25
    Gerdel 1/25
Side sessions      
Memphis   Springfield  
Blair   Cuda  
Ferrara   Sherriff  
Palm Beach   Peoria  
Mayers   S Garcia  
Al Reyes      

Velo time
Velocities from some of Monday's pitchers.

Pitcher Fb Other Ps Notes
Ian McKinney 87-88 79  
Steven Farinaro 89-90   FB topped out at 92
Dailyn Martinez 89-91    
Juan Perez 92   Touched 98 in 2013 
Isaac Silva 88-91   Nice pickoff move but wild throw
Max Foody 90-91 80 curve  
Luis Perdomo 89-90    

My miscellaneous musings

The reason the top three minor league clubs did not play today is that pitchers had been on an every-other-day routine since camp opened. Now that they are getting more stretched out, all clubs should have enough ready pitchers each day for the remainder of camp.

I saw a nice throw from left field by Ricardo Bautista after which catcher Jose Gomez tagged out Jeremy Schaffer trying to score.

Third baseman David Medina made two good charges on short hop balls, but only one good throw. That is why they aren't yet major leaguers.

Though he was not in the lineup, outfielder Oscar Taveras was inserted into the Peoria 2 lineup in the number two spot as the second extra hitter. I saw four at-bats, but there could have been one or two more. Though the Cardinals had Taveras running the bases, he was clearly not hustling out of the batter's box. Plays I saw included a 4-3, a 5-3, an RBI double that hit off the left field wall on one hop against Steven Farinaro and a 6-3 with a throwing error.

Catcher Juan Castillo was on base at least three times with two singles and a walk.

Outfielder Jimmy Bosco is a pesky hitter, collecting at least one RBI on a sharply-hit single.

Outfielder Matthew Young worked the count for a sac fly against Ian McKinney.

Of the catching Rodriguez-es, Elier is more stout than Frankie. The former pinch hit and the latter worked behind the plate in relief.

Second baseman Robelys Reyes has a nice swing, collecting at least one hit. The challenge is his age, 23, given he hasn't yet reached full-season ball. The former Dominican Summer League batting champion was delayed several years by a visa issue.

Working rosters will be posted in a separate article later today or in the morning.

Remember to check The Cardinal Nation Blog in the evenings for the day's minor league stats and notes.

More to come this week...

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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