Cards Spring News from Jupiter: 03/23/16

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

With the major and minor leaguers all back from their day off on Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals prepared to take on the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

Words from Matheny

The manager said that pitchers will hit the rest of the way and he will start “playing guys longer more often”. He had very good things to say about outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who got the start Wednesday and called catcher Michael Ohlman one of the most improved players since last year.

As the losing streak was going then, the manager answered multiple questions about playing the games to win and establishing winning as regular.

He bristled a bit when I asked him if seeing more of Matt Holliday at first base now might have regular season implications. Matheny said he has said many times that it is about getting Holliday reps there. Interestingly, he noted that Brayan Pena could see action at first base in minor league games.

Cooney throws

Having only thrown in only one game this spring, Tim Cooney’s shoulder was a subject of discussion. The manager said the lefty would throw in a minor league game, but instead he meant that Cooney threw 25 pitches of live batting practice to David Washington, Tommy Pham and Jacob Wilson on a minor league field later in the morning. For Cooney, he said the key step is how he feels tomorrow.

Minor league starting lineups and pitching plans for Wednesday

The minor leaguers continued their game action on Wednesday with a camp day. As is the custom, there were to be two 1:00 p.m. games with Memphis versus Springfield and Palm Beach taking on Peoria.

Memphis Pos Springfield Pos Palm Beach Pos Peoria 1 Pos
Shildt Mgr Bilardello Mgr Marmol Mgr Kruzel Mgr
Tilson 8 Drake 8 Sierra 8 Bautista 8
Diaz 6 Caldwell 4 Sosa 6 Cordoba 6
A Garcia 7 DeJong 5 Dennard 3 Denton 5
J Rod 3 Jacobs 3 DeLeon DH R Garcia 3
Wisdom 5 Thompson 7 Olivera 9 Franco 9
Bader 9 Bean 2 Staton 5 Tice 4
Williams 4 Radack 9 McCarvel 2 J Lopez DH
Cruz 2 Sohn 6 Peoples-Walls 7 Bandes 7
Godoy DH Reynolds DH Turgeon 4 E Garcia 2
Pitchers   Inn/pitches   Inn/pitches   Pitchers  
Hefner 3/45 Mayers 4/60 Nielsen 3/45 Alcantara 3/45
Sulbaran 3/45 Aquino 3/45 Fernandez 3/45 Leitao 3/45
Poncedeleon 4/60 Morales 3/45 Cross 3/45 Arias 1/20
            Medina 1/20
            DeLorenzo 1/20

Velo time

Velocities from some of Wednesday’s pitchers follow. Hard-throwers Sandy Alcantara and Junior Fernandez may have dialed back their velocity a bit to try to help their control.

Pitcher Fb Other Ps Notes
Mike Mayers 89-91 T94 sldr 83 Had to face Pham and Adams
Sandy Alcantara 95-98 c-up 89-90  
Daniel Poncedeleon 93-94    
Junior Fernandez 91-95    
J.C. Sulbaran 89-91 c-up 82 curve 76
Jayson Aquino 87-89 sldr 81 c-up 79
Brennan Leitao 89-91    
Estarlin Arias 91-93 sldr 81  
Carson Cross 85-86 sldr 77-79 Threw a lot of sliders
Trey Nielsen 89-90 curve 77-79  
Yeison Medina 89-91 sldr 79  
Bob Wheatley 86-88 c-up 80  

My miscellaneous musings

Slowed by a leg injury, Mason Katz was on the rehab list posted Tuesday, however, the infielder has now been cleared to start swinging again. Katz was out with a leg injury.

I was hoping to see 2015 first-rounder Nick Plummer in game action, but I was told the outfielder is out with a wrist injury.

Memphis lost 9-3, while Peoria bested Palm Beach by a 4-3 score (updated). From the earlier pitching plan posted above, Daniel Poncedeleon and Trey Nielsen switched assignments.

All three Springfield pitchers were scored upon. Starter Mike Mayers and final pitcher Andrew Morales yielded two runs each while middleman Jayson Aquino was roughed up for four scores.

The Double-A pitchers should get an asterisk at least, as major leaguers Tommy Pham and Matt Adams came back to get at-bats. The two led off each one of the first five innings. I did not catch every AB, but Pham stroked the first pitch he saw for a double to left-center.

I did see five of Adams’ at bats. In the fourth, he shot an RBI double off Mayers into the left field corner, scoring Pham, who had singled.

Mayers’ other run came home on an RBI double by Andrew Sohn, plating Collin Radack. Radack had taken third when catcher Luis Cruz’ throw got past the second baseman on a steal attempt. In some odd justice, Cruz then erased Sohn trying to steal second base, himself.

It looked like free agent infield signee Mikey Reynolds might have been out of the game after walking off with a trainer following a slide and collision at second base. However, the DH for Springfield stayed in and collected at least three hits on the afternoon.

Bruce Caldwell stroked an RBI single for Springfield. Back-to-back doubles by newcomer Chris Jacobs and Nick Thompson (who is a very patient hitter) scored another run for the Double-A club, against J.C. Sulbaran. Thompson came home with Springfield’s third and final run after he was caught between second and third, but Memphis’ second-sacker threw the ball past the third baseman.

Sulbaran has a very good pickoff move, as he caught stolen base ace Charlie Tilson leaning the wrong way off first.

After Andrew Morales took over for Springfield, Harrison Bader blasted a one-hopper off the fence in dead center, but was thrown out by catcher Alberto Rosario when trying to steal third. Paul DeJong hit another ball even harder, with his one-hopper to deep center that skipped over the wall. Jacobs shot the next pitch from Morales up the middle to score DeJong.

The day’s big blow was a three-run shot to left field by Anthony Garcia. The culprit was Trey Nielsen.

In the other game, Ronnierd Garcia collected an RBI on a double against Sandy Alcantara, who needed 21 pitches to get through his first of three innings.

I saw at least two very strong defensive players in the Palm Beach-Peoria contest. Third baseman Allen Staton charged hard on a dribbler and his one handed grab and throw just beat the runner (see photo). Later, left fielder Luis Bandes made a headlong drive to catch a ball off the bat of Casey Turgeon in short left-center on the dead run.

A quietly effective pitcher was Brennan Leitao, who I believe allowed just one hit in a scoreless three-inning stint. He followed Alcantara for the fourth through sixth innings for Peoria.

Bryce Denton scooted home to score on a wild pitch from Yeison Medina.

If you are planning to attend Thursday’s games, be aware of the 10:00 a.m. start for either four or five games against the Marlins on the Cardinals side of the complex.

Much more to come 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

Cardinals Minors Working Rosters - 03/22/16
Cardinals Say Goodbye to Three Minor Leaguers

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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