Friday marked another beautiful day in Jupiter, Florida, with high, sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s. It is another home day for the Cardinals with the Mets bringing in their two teams. The Red team played on Field 5 of the George Kissell Quad with the White team’s game on Field 2 – the opposite two fields from the day before.
Temporarily-transplanted Springfield third baseman Patrick Wisdom continues his one-on-one hitting work with hitting consultant George Greer. The two watched most of the Red game from Greer’s cart, undoubtedly talking hitting.
Wisdom told me that he expects to progress to getting at-bats in EST games next week. The first student of the Cardinals new in-season individual instruction program admitted that some of his friends initially had the same questions that many of you had. Is he hurt? Is he undergoing a position change? Will he start pitching? We all now know that is not the case.
Foody is good
Max Foody retired last summer after enduring two straight years of injuries that kept him off the field. The left-hander returned to a normal life, attending college, but as his elbow felt better, his desire to pitch returned. After the 21-year-old checked out ok with Cardinals team physicians, the organization invited back their 12th-rounder from 2012. Foody has progressed to throwing live BP on the way to being ready for short-season ball, likely back in the Gulf Coast League.
Dominican Academy not quite done
There is good news and not good news with the Cardinals new facility in the Dominican Republic. The good news is that all of the fields and other baseball-related construction is done. The not good news, though not fatal, is that living quarters are not ready, which means additional hotel logistics.
The 2015 DSL season opens in three weeks.
Have it your way
The Mets appear to be using tablets instead of the old-fashioned clip boards to chart pitches. Based on the damaged screens on their machines, I am not sure the technology packaging is ready for this particular industrial application.
Not tickled pink
One official joked about “pink shirts” not being good. They are really red uniform jerseys that have been worn in the sun and washed so many times that they are losing their red color. The connotation is that the player has been in camp for a long time, perhaps too long.
This is all for development
Johnny Rodriquez’ Red team prevailed by a 3-2 score on Friday. But one must remember that these games are for player development. As a result, some innings end up consisting of four outs while others have just two. I saw both on Friday.
Two of the coaches for short-season Brooklyn, both well-known former Major Leaguers, were helping to lead the Mets’ club facing the Red team – ex-pitcher Dave La Roche and former infielder Edgardo Alfonso.
In one of the middle innings, the Mets pitcher had secured the third out, but was short of his allocated workload. La Roche asked if the young man could throw “three more pitches,” and of course, Rodriguez agreed. So the Cardinals baserunners returned to their bags. After three pitches with no outcome, Alfonzo called out, “Let him finish,” which they did. The Met hurler went on to fan Jose Godoy.
The White team was up 6-5, but the Mets had the potential tying run on third base with two outs in the top of the ninth. Apparently Cardinals pitcher Jery Then had burned through his allocation of pitches, because manager Chris Swauger asked to “roll the inning.” That meant the game ended right there.
As promised Thursday, here are the working rosters for extended spring training. Stalls for MLBers Jaime Garcia and Tommy Pham were set up in the Major League clubhouse, used by Palm Beach after spring training. While Garcia was here all day Thursday, I have seen no evidence of Pham yet.
|De La Cruz||Bohannon||DeLorenzo|
|Rodriguez, Jor||Oca||Garcia, J (MLB)|
Before we get into game results, let’s review the lineups, pitchers and their velocities. There were many fastballs but fewer off-speed offerings. What follows is an incomplete sample.
|Cb 79||Sl 87-88|
|C/up 78||C/up 82-84|
|Sl 80-82||C/up 78|
|Cb 75||Sl 82|
Both Cardinals starting pitchers, Jorge Rodriguez (Red) and Sandy Alcantara (White) are tall and thin Dominican Republic natives, listed at 6-foot-2, 175 pounds and 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, respectively.
The latter really stood out Friday with his stuff. Alcantara, 19, has yet to pitch an official game in the US, so this was my first exposure to him. You can imagine my interest level piquing as I could hear catcher Chris Rivera’s glove pop. The right-hander’s fastball was consistently in the 96-98 mph range, the highest velocity I have seen to date on this trip. He also deployed a slider and change-up. (Alcantara is pictured in the lead photo for this article.)
Later, 2014 second-rounder Ronnie Williams yielded a pair of RBI singles to the Mets.
Luis Bandes plated a run on a ground out. Next time up, the designated hitter doubled leading off the inning, but was stranded on popups from Malik Collymore, DeAndre Asbury-Heath and Alvarez.
A mid-game replacement at first base, Sergio Ripoll, stroked an RBI double down the left field line. Next time up, he singled with the bases loaded to plate his second runner of the day.
Nick Frey had a rough outing. Another tall and thin pitcher at 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, Frey gave up an RBI single. Backing up the play, he fielded the ball, and threw toward second base to try to nail the advancing runner, but it sailed into center field as the second run came home. The third score against him was the result of an RBI double. At that point, the inning was rolled. In his next inning of work, a Mets runner was thrown out at the plate.
Then, the final pitcher of the day, was dealing, with a fastball in the 94-96 mph range, and touching 97. As noted above, the right-hander did not finish his second inning of work, but recorded a strikeout for every one of his five outs.
Unfortunately, there was also a major scare when a 96 mph Then offering nailed Mets batter Walter Rasquin in the head. Rasquin fell face down in the dirt as trainers rushed out to assist. After several minutes of checking him out, a dazed Rasquin managed to walk off the field under his own power.
On Saturdays, the abbreviated work schedule includes 10:00 a.m. games. Though the original schedule had the White team in a camp day, the Marlins decided they have enough pitchers needing work to hold two games. The White contest will be on the Cardinals side with the Red game on Miami’s side of the complex.
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