Once again, I am reporting from St. Louis Cardinals extended spring training camp in a very quiet Jupiter, Florida. To be accurate, it is quiet for the fans and media, but not for 71 players active on one of two rosters.
Jaime Garcia gets ready
There are also two major leaguers among the 13 rehabbers, including left-handed pitcher Jaime Garcia. Already announced as the Sunday starter at Triple-A Memphis, Garcia was throwing his regular side session as I pulled into the complex at 11:30 a.m. (see above photo)
It felt like déjà vu, as the last time I arrived in camp, during spring training, it was Garcia throwing his infamous 80-pitch sim game on March 24 that caused his setback. There was no evidence of any issues whatsoever on this day, however.
I spoke briefly to an up-beat Wisdom following the second of his two one-on-one sessions with pitching consultant George Greer (left in photo). One was in the morning; the other was during the noon games on an adjacent field. Wisdom hit three five-gallon pails worth of baseballs each season, with my guess being 200 or so each time. I know that when he was done, the outfield looked like a driving range, littered with balls.
This is a process Greer used with New York Mets hitters sent down to Triple-A Las Vegas for fine tuning when he was the hitting coach there. I did not see a lot of changes being made, as it seemed more about repetition. Wisdom is expected to return to Springfield relatively soon.
Collymore in the outfield
You will note in the White lineup below that Malik Collymore, who had a strong 2014 Gulf Coast League season with the bat, batting .333, third in the league, started in center field.
Update: This appears to be a permanent move for the former second baseman.
Rivera behind the plate
Once a prep shortstop, then a professional second baseman and then third baseman at Johnson City last year, Chris Rivera is undergoing another change. As the photo attests, he is donning the tools of ignorance. I would think it is too early to make a declaration, but the roster shows him among the catchers rather than the infielders.
Update: This appears to be a permanent move for the former infielder.
Red and White
Back to the two EST rosters… The Red players, led by State College skipper Johnny Rodriguez, are the more experienced ones while the White team, headed by Johnson City Cardinals manager Chris Swauger, typically includes the younger players. Nothing is cast in ink as players move across rosters as necessary.
The Cardinals have two EST teams as do the Mets. The Marlins have just one. With the odd number of teams, one of the five has a camp day every day.
The format of EST starts with 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30 AM buses from the hotel. Hitters can get early work. 8:30 is the formal start with Yellow Pad reviews led by the managers (a George Kissell staple) followed by stretch and conditioning, followed by long toss. Next is Fundamentals, with the specifics decided by the managers. By 9:30, it is time for batting practice followed by an early 10:30 AM lunch and games at noon. Saturdays have a compressed schedule that ends with a 10 AM contest.
On Thursday, the Red squad played the Mets 2 team on the Kissell Quad. Just across the way was the White game in which Miami was the opponent.
The Red team fell by a 12-4 tally, while the White team was on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision. The wind was unusually not a major factor and the skies were clear with mid-80’s temperatures.
Before we get into game results, let’s review the lineups, pitchers and their velocities. There were many fastballs but far fewer off-speed offerings. What follows is an incomplete sample. The 10th hitter in the lineup is denoted as "EH", or extra hitter.
Though I did not see the sim game or the pitchers throwing sides, it is worth nothing that both Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty were to throw today. Flaherty's pitch count seems to me to be about half of a starter's target. Springfield's Lee Stoppelman, like Flaherty listed among the rehabbers, is also scheduled to pitch. He told me there is no schedule for his return.
|De La Cruz||1/20||Velazco||1/20||89-91|
|B Lee - Live BP||Stoppelman||15-20|
As noted above, the nine-inning game was dominated by the Mets, 12-4.
I missed much of the Mets scoring while on the other field, but did see Dailyn Martinez get burned. After his own throwing error to first, that runner came around to score on an RBI double.
The big blow of the day was struck by outfielder Kenny Peoples-Walls, who blasted a three-run home run to left.
Though the official score through nine innings was 1-0 in favor of the Marlins, the two teams played an unofficial 10th inning that did not count in the score. In that frame, Carlos Torres stroked a bases-loaded double into the left-field corner, scoring two – too late for the Cardinals.
The one Miami run scored in the first inning via a double and RBI single against starter Frederis Parra.
My defensive play of the day was made by second baseman Eliezer Alvarez, who made a running catch of a pop fly in short right field with his back to the plate. He then had the presence to spin and throw a bullet to first base to double off the Miami baserunner.
In Friday’s installment, I hope to include full rosters. All I need is more hours in the day…
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