Words from Matheny
The manager said the coaching assignments for Friday’s split squad games are as follows:
Home: Bell, Lilliquist, Mabry, Maloney
Road: Matheny, Oquendo, Mueller, Ilsley
Matheny gave Thursday’s starter at second base, Dean Anna, a compliment, saying “the more we’ve seen, the better he looks” and that “he is taking better at-bats.”
Though he is not ready to name his opening day starter, the manager also told us that we are “good at deciphering” their pitching plans. Matheny said that unless there is a setback, Wainwright will take the ball in Chicago. “He’s our ace,” the skipper concluded.
Matt Carpenter was pulled out of Wednesday’s game after suffering a contusion (bruise) while getting hit by a pitch and took a lot of grief from his teammates as a result. Matheny wanted to make it clear that it was his decision and a good way to give a regular a bit of rest.
The manager is not concerned about the potential of a five-man bench consisting of all right-handed hitters. He wants “the best guys” who take “good at-bats.”
Minor league STEP camper Charlie Tilson drew raves from Matheny for his instincts on the bases. The manager likes the fact that he gets good jumps and gets to maximum speed “in his first couple of steps.”
No one (on the team) is concerned about the fact that Jason Heyward had no extra base hits. They like his hard line drives and do not want him to change his approach. (In the first inning, the outfielder blasted his first homer.)
Bourjos' extra work
I moved this section, with added content and audio, to a separate article here.
Injury update – Steven Gallardo
Pitcher Steven Gallardo is getting close to coming back from May 1, 2014 Tommy John surgery. The right-hander hopes to be cleared to throw in two weeks.
Injury update – Derek Gibson
Based on how strongly 2014 free agent signee Derek Gibson hit when added to Palm Beach at the end of last season, no one could ever have guessed he was playing with a hip injury. After October surgery, Gibson feels great and is already back playing.
Based on Daniel Poncedeleon’s 95-96 mph readings on Thursday, I had to ask the pitcher from where his increased velocity came. With a big smile on his face, he told me that it was a matter of his offseason workouts along with being able to start the spring fresh and strong rather than reporting to State College after the college season was done.
Poncedeleon, our 34th-ranked Cardinals prospect, is definitely worth watching. There will be a scrum to make the Peoria roster, but I had him among the top six before camp and seeing him now, I like his chances even more.
Working group adjustments
The Cardinals shifted some outfield working group assignments on Wednesday.
Minor league starting lineups and pitching plans for Thursday
The minor leaguers continued their game action on Thursday with a camp day, a change from the original schedule. The threat of rain kept the Mets at home and the games were moved up to 10:00 a.m. with Memphis versus Springfield and Palm Beach taking on Peoria.
That was ideal for me, as I could see all the minor league games and still have time to walk over to the main stadium to catch St. Louis and Miami. It was less fun for the major leaguers, who had to endure an afternoon rain delay.
Pitching plans follow with starting lineups. Peoria 2 also had a simulated game. Its pitching plans are included below.
|Greenwood||Waldron||Weaver||De La Cruz|
|Peoria 2||Peoria 2|
Velocities and offerings from some of Thursday’s pitchers follow.
|T Lee||85-87||Sldr 77|
|D Perez||88-89||C-up 81-82|
My miscellaneous musings
The final scores were
Memphis 4, Springfield 0 and Palm Beach over Peoria, 3-1. Update: I apologize as my understanding of the scores was off, not what the Cardinals reported. The record states that Springfield beat Memphis, 4-3 and Palm Beach and Peoria tied at 4-4. I stand corrected.
The defensive play of the day (at least that I saw) was made by Carson Kelly, who threw out the top basestealer in the system and his 2014 Peoria teammate C.J. McElroy, who was trying to steal second base.
A couple of loud hits included a long double by Casey Turgeon (pictured at the top of the article) deep into the right field corner against Corey Littrell and in the sim game, a loud ground rule double into the right field corner by outfielder Anthony Ray that could easily have been a triple. The pitcher was 2014 draftee Ronnie Williams.
In the sim game, Keith Butler made his first semi-official outing. As noted in yesterday’s report, there is a plan for his return from Tommy John surgery. One more step was accomplished Thursday.
Memphis “fourth coach” Vance Albitz was out of uniform and working in scout mode on Thursday, as the photo below affirms. To read more about Albitz’ 2015 role, click here.
Much more to come from Jupiter, Florida this week.
What is next
Remember to check The Cardinal Nation Blog each evening during spring training for the day's minor league stat highlights and notes and the Roster Matrix. The matrix has every transaction listed along with all players in the system by level and position, including the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and non-roster spring training invitees, STEP campers and more.
Prior articles in this series
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