Cards Winter Warm-Up In Their Words, Sun 1/18

Press interviews from the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up on Sunday, January 18.

Following are selected interviews held during day two of the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch on Sunday, January 18, 2015.

Link to day one interviews.
Link to day one photos.

Adam Wainwright (7:53)

The ace provided the obligatory answers that his health is good, noting that he has begun to throw on the same date as last spring.

It was clear his 2014 was more troublesome than reported at the time. Wainwright explained that it began when he hyperextended his knee after slipping on the wet grass in New York in April. He then tweaked his forearm in compensation, then it was a back-arm bone bruise as the problems followed each other.

As a result, Wainwright had to throw more cutters and curves. He did not consider himself “a complete pitcher” as a result. The pain kept him from pronating and being able to pitch inside. Though his September was good, he admitted it was better he did not make his final regular-season start and was not right in the post-season.

Wainwright closed with support of the Cardinals training staff, clearing the air about how he secured his medical advice last fall.

Matt Holliday (5:20)

The outfielder shares the opinion that the 2015 Cardinals team “should score a lot more runs” than in 2014. Holliday had no idea why so many hitters had a down year at the same time.

In a reference to new arrival Jason Heyward, Holliday believes the team more “needs a 25-home run guy than an on-base guy.” However, he was clear that it is up to Mike Matheny to make up the lineup and his job is to show up and be ready to play. Holliday does not care if he bats third, fourth or fifth, noting one factor could be to break up the left-handed batters in the Cardinals lineup.

Holliday takes pride in his durability, having played 156 games last season, and is not doing anything out of the ordinary to focus on his sometimes-ailing back.

Tommy Pham (3:00)

The outfielder is focusing on his own preparation, acknowledging that is all he can control. Pham is clearly relieved, having the weight lifted off his shoulders by spending all of 2014 healthy.

Tim Cooney (4:07)

The lefty talked about how his big-league spring prep helped him get off to a fast start at Memphis, sharing that his no-hit bid was both “uncharted territory” and his “most memorable game.”

Cooney’s primary focus is on improving his command against more experienced hitters. He wants to throw harder, but is also working on making his changeup more of a weapon. Despite throwing almost 150 innings, he says his arm was strong at the end of last season.

Sam Freeman (5:22)

The lefty, having pitched in winter ball in past years, does not have a set off-season routine, but has been throwing since December 8. His main focus for 2015 is improved consistency. Freeman does not like the lefty specialist tag as he wants to just be a pitcher getting outs.

Freeman feels that if he is “on,” he has a good chance of making the team in the spring. However, the fact that he has a fourth option year gives the Cardinals more roster flexibility. This information as reported by the player is incorrect. More details here.

Tyler Lyons (4:53)

While a starter, the lefty acknowledges that he could be asked to relieve and noted that he has done it a little in recent seasons. Lyons noted that he “almost got ready too quickly” as a starting pitcher, so sees no problems in either role.

Learning from his good and bad starts alike, Lyons wants to avoid getting behind in counts and wants to keep the game slow, staying in control. He acknowledged the Cardinals’ current left-handed situation is “kind of weird” given there are so many guys competing.

Bill DeWitt Jr. (24:00)

The team’s principal owner re-iterated plans he announced the day before for Cardinals players to wear an “OT” uniform patch in 2015 and for Cardinals Care to refurbish a youth baseball field in Taveras’ honor in his hometown of Sosua, DR.

DeWitt reaffirmed John Mozeliak’s view that the Cardinals are “not actively engaged” in the pursuit of top starting pitching. When asked about the Rams, DeWitt noted that professional football is “important for the city” and “what is good for the city is good for the Cardinals.”

He closed with discussing his role as chairman of MLB’s executive council, the NL’s “legacy” member with Jim Pohlad (Twins) representing the AL. New commissioner Rob Manfred is getting newer owners involved. DeWitt recounted retiring Bud Selig’s legacy, saying he “will go down as the greatest commissioner.”

Michael Wacha (11:14)

The right-hander had a scheduled MRI on Saturday and passed with flying colors. He acknowledges his injury is rare and recovery and recurrence rates are unknown.

Wacha does not expect to have to change his mechanics and his arm feels just as strong. Will move to mound work in a few weeks. In 2015, he wants to compete and be trusted to pitch every fifth day. Like every other starter, he does not want more rest or have to be treated specially.

He told the story that he was working out with Shelby Miller in Houston, as they live only one block from either other when the news arrived that Miller was traded. Wacha is already kidding with him about when they play each other.

Seth Maness (5:16)

Early last season, the reliever tasted his first real adversity as a professional. It was mental, requiring him to improve his focus. He is still learning relieving and looks to Randy Choate for veteran advice.

Matt Carpenter (12:45)

The third baseman started with talk about his dad, the national prep baseball Coach of the Year. Matt called last season a “mental grind,” noting that he did not ever get on a hot streak until the post-season. Carpenter also said that his teammates never seemed to get hot together.

He tried a new approach in the 2014 post-season after limited success in 2013 – being more aggressive. Three of Carpenter’s four home runs came off first-pitches, he said. It is something he is considering carrying over into 2015, but also made it clear that his overall plate approach is not going to change (seeing a lot of pitches, fighting with two strikes, etc.) Carpenter said he would like to be able to tap into his power as Jason Heyward has.

Kevin Siegrist (7:52)

Working out in Florida, the left-handed reliever is already in a throwing program and has had no setbacks. Siegrist expects to be as close to 100 percent as possible before camp.

He felt his hand problem came from his forearm problem. Siegrist was fine coming off the DL last season, but the situation got progressively worse – his pitches lacked their late explosiveness. It taught him patience. Siegrist wondered if his short break after the 2013 World Series contributed.

Reporting to camp, Siegrist believes that “competition is good.” He prepares as a starter to work on all four pitches, but thinks the mentality of a reliever suits him well. Before he was hurt, he was working on increasing his slider velocity to that of a cutter, and will go back to that effort.

Matt Adams (6:02)

The first baseman is among the Cardinals who were married during the off-season. Adams started his preparation for the season on schedule in early December, including some defensive tips from Jose Oquendo.

The left-handed hitter says his hitting machine has been set to throw a lot of sliders, curveballs and changeups, but it was huge for his confidence to have success against lefties Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner in the post-season.

Despite wearing a sleeve on his left elbow at times since, Adams insists he has had no elbow pain since prior to his 2012 surgery.

Check back at The Cardinal Nation for more Winter Warm-Up content throughout the weekend and in the days that follow. Selected photos of all the above individuals and more are now loaded at TheCardinalNationblog.com, so check them out, too.

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

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