Cards Spring News from Jupiter: 03/26/15

Brian Walton’s Thursday notes from St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida.

With a threat of afternoon rain on Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals prepared to take on the Miami Marlins, their stable-mate in Jupiter. Adam Wainwright is facing Henderson Alvarez.

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.

Poncedeleon’s velocity

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.

Jhohan Acevedo from Peoria 1 to Palm Beach
Devante Lacy and Brian Vigo-Suarez from Peoria 2 to Peoria 1
Brake Drake from Palm Beach to Peoria 2
Anthony Ray from Peoria 1 to Peoria 2

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.

Memphis Pos Springfield Pos Palm Beach Pos Peoria Pos
Shildt Mgr Bilardello Mgr Marmol Mgr Kruzel Mgr
Tilson 8 McElroy 8 Sierra 8 Mercado DH
G Garcia 6 Martini 9 Diekroeger  5 Sosa 6
Diaz DH Caldwell 5 Ehrlich DH O'Keefe 2
Washington 3 Voit 3 Ringo 3 Gronsky 5
Wisdom 5 Stanley 2 Radack 9 Gibson 9
B Valera 4 Popkins 7 Wiley 6 Pritchard 7
Ortega 7 Reyes 6 Turgeon 4 Ustariz 3
S Rodriguez 9 Seferina 4 Neil 2 Schulze 4
Tartamella EH Bosco DH Acevedo 7 Lacy  8
J Gonzalez 2            
Pitchers   Inn/pitches   Inn/pitches   Inn/pitches  
Lyons 4/60-65 T Lee 4/60-65 Hald 4/60-65 Pearce 3/45-50
Heyer 2/35 Perry 1/25 Littrell 3/45 D Perez 3/45
Donofrio 1/25 Lucas 1/25 Scanio 1/25 Schumacher 2/35
Socolovich 1/25 Loraine 1/25 Billbrough 1/25 Holback 1/25
    Sherriff 1/25     Booden 1/25
Side sessions   Sides   Sides   Sides  
Memphis   Springfield   Palm Beach   Peoria  
Petrick   Petree   Kaminsky   Baez  
Cornelius   Thomas   Reyes   Gomber  
Greenwood   Waldron   Weaver   De La Cruz  
Swagerty       Polanco   Escudero  
        Rowland   Gerdel  
        Weaver   Grana  
        Sides   Sim game  
        Peoria 2   Peoria 2  
        Mateo   Dobzanski 2/35
        Parra   Williams 2/35
        Jor Rodriguez   Reidt 1/25
        Santos   Bohannon 1/25
        Caballero   Villegas 1/25
        Brito   Alexander 1/25
            Butler 2/20

Velo time

Velocities and offerings from some of Thursday’s pitchers follow.

Pitcher Fb Other Ps
Lyons 91-92 Sldr 83
Hald 84-86 Cb 75
    Sldr 76
Pierce 89-90  
T Lee 85-87 Sldr 77
Butler 87 C-up 76-78
Dobzanski 85-87 C-up 79-81
Williams 87-89  
Reidt 84 Cb 73
Heyer 91-92 C-up 85
Loraine 89-90 C-up 78
D Perez 88-89 C-up 81-82
Bohannon 88-92  
Lucas 89-90 Sldr 82
Littrell 87-89  
Villegas 89-91 Sldr 76-80
    C-up 81-82
Alexander 89 C-up 82-83
Perry 89-91  
Schumacher 88-89  
Socolovich 89-91  
Sherriff 89-90 C-up 76-78
Scanio 88-89 Cb 80
Holback  86-87 C-up 81-82
Billbrough 89-90  
Booden 89-91 Cb 71-76

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.

Later, Dante Rosenberg also caught fellow catcher Gerwuins Velazco trying to swipe third base. I imagine some good-natured kidding among the catching corps followed.

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

Wednesday’s spring training news from Jupiter
Cardinals Minor League Working Rosters – 3/25/15
Tuesday’s spring training news from Jupiter

Join the spring training discussion with other Cardinals fans here

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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