With heavy rain at times on Thursday carrying into Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals prepared for split-squad games that could be impacted by the weather. Half of the squad remained home to take on the Mets. The others hopped two busses for the two-hour trip to Viera. (As always, major league lineups are posted on The Cardinal Nation message board as soon as available.)
Bell in charge
Mike Matheny is among those on the trip to Viera and I did not make that journey. Bench coach David Bell is leading the coaching staff in Jupiter. The other Friday coaching assignments are in Thursday’s report.
Minor leaguers who will suit up and be available for St. Louis’ 1:00 p.m. game today in Jupiter include these position players: catcher Steve Bean, outfielders Charlie Tilson and C.J. McElroy plus infielders Robelys Reyes and Andrew Sohn. Available pitchers are Corey Baker, Kyle Barraclough (pictured above) and Ronnie Shaban.
Working group adjustments
The Cardinals made no changes in their working groups or rehab list from Thursday to Friday.
Minor league starting lineups and pitching plans for Friday
The minor leaguers continued their game action on Friday with a camp day. However, the number of additional minor leaguers called upon to fortify the Jupiter MLB split squad team apparently contributed to a decision to not have a Memphis-Springfield game on Friday. Instead, the remaining players will work out.
There are two 10:00 a.m. games planned, weather permitting, of course. Palm Beach will be taking on Peoria 1, while Peoria 2 will play a traveling team, the Long Island Storm.
Lineups and pitching plans follow.
|R Garcia||3||E Rodriguez||DH||Bautista||9|
Those pitchers throwing side sessions follow.
Velocities and offerings from some of Friday’s pitchers follow.
|Anderson||85-86||Sldr 77||Gave up B2B HRs, I think|
|D Martinez||89-91 T92|
|Tuivailala||96||C-up 84||Every fastball was 96|
|Cutter 87||Secured outs with curve|
|Cb 80||Impressive vs. A-ball hitters|
|J Perez||89-90||C-up 79-80|
|Farinaro||90-93||Allowed 2-run HR, several more runs|
|Hawkins||85-87||C-up 79-80||Allowed 2-run HR|
|Cb 65-67||Got outs with sweeping curveball|
|Bray||85-86||Deceptive sidearm delivery|
|Helisek||90||Sldr 84||Allowed triple, run|
My miscellaneous musings
Observations from Friday’s games.
The same pouring rain and lightning that delayed the start of the Cards-Mets game in the main stadium washed out the final inning of Peoria 2’s game against the Long Island Storm with the Chiefs up 7-6.
The other game was completed by then with Peoria 1 defeating Palm Beach 8-4.
As noted in the table above, Sam Tuivailala got in an inning of work as the “starter” for Palm Beach. As has been the case every time he pitches, the crowd of players and coaches behind the screen quadruples in size as they come over from the other fields.
On this day, Tui had his pitches working. If my notes are correct, he secured outs on three different pitches, including a strikeout on his curve. Every fastball he threw that inning (that I saw the gun readings on) was exactly 96 mph.
Brett Wiley showed his bat and legs with two triples. The first, off Luis Perdomo, was a blast to dead center that one-hopped off the fence. The second, against Kyle Helisek, set him up to score on a wild pitch/passed ball. Here he is, starting his break home, encouraged by manager Oliver Marmol.
Also in the speed department, Brian Vigo-Sanchez stole third base and Ildemaro Vargas stole second but Ricardo Bautista was thrown out trying to swipe second.
Julian Barzilli, a stout, well-built player, added a ringing double against Juan Perez. Jose Godoy coaxed a bases-loaded walk. Anthony Ray had an RBI ground out.
Elier Rodriguez blasted a two-run home run to right center off Steven Farinaro. Cole Lankford added a sac fly. Another two-run homer came off the bat of Kenny Peoples-Walls, which went over the left field wall against Dylan Hawkins.
Oscar Mercado made the smoothest defensive play I caught on the day. The shortstop snared a one-hopper up the middle, tagged the runner breaking off second base and fired to first, all in one motion while on the run, to get the double-play.
The last pitcher of the day was also the last pitcher the Cardinals took in the 2014 Draft, 40th-rounder Davis Ward. Inheriting a bases-loaded situation with his team up by just one run and bragging rights against the Storm on the line, Ward did his job, inducing a 4-6 grounder to escape the jam. Within moments, the skies opened up and the day was done.
A familiar Storm player
Speaking of the Storm, I found it interesting to look at the equipment bags used by the players on the independent team. I saw at least six organizations represented, including Blue Jays, Cubs, Red Sox and Angels.
I overheard the players talking about the new recruit who arrived only with a suitcase and had to carry his equipment in a garbage bag for his first road trip.
Obviously, these players want to be noticed and get a second chance in affiliated ball.
One such player looked familiar to me, but I could not remember why. I finally caught the eye of the Storm’s center fielder, wearing number 8. It was Erik Komatsu, who some folks may remember made the 2012 Cardinals out of camp.
After just 21 plate appearances in 15 games with the Cards, Komatsu was placed on waivers and claimed by the Minnesota Twins. The left-handed hitter had 15 more games in the majors that season, but that was it.
From there, Komatsu went to the Nationals (released), Angels (released) and Brewers (free agent), all last season at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Now 27 years of age, Komatsu is wearing the uniform of the Long Island Storm, trying to recapture his dream.
In one of the most bizarre things I have seen at a baseball game, a Long Island player hit a high foul ball back toward the screen. The baseball came down on the top of one of the metal support poles for the backing screen, knocking the metal cap off. It fell 30 feet down and put a sizeable dent in the gravel right next to where players were charting pitches.
More to come from Jupiter, Florida.
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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