On my final day of vacation in Jupiter, Florida - I was fortunate enough to attend the St. Louis Cardinals extended spring training on a sunny Saturday morning.
On Saturdays, the workouts are shortened with games played at 10 a.m. The White Team (more experienced players) hosted the Mets on Field 2 while the Red Team (younger players) "jumped the fence" and played the Marlins in an exhibition game at Roger Dean Stadium.
Due to the distance between games, I chose to cover the Red Team headed by Gulf Coast League Cardinals manager Steve Turco, mostly because it was at the Dean, which was arranged to be a full nine-inning affair.
I arrived right at first pitch, so there was not a sufficient amount of time to collect news on rehabbing players and the batting order for the Red Team. However, I did cover the full game and obtained news as the game progressed.
So, here is how the Red Squad's game unfolded on Saturday, May 28th.
Saturday pitching plans and velocities
Jordan Hicks: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K - Velo: 88-91 on FB, T 92-94 - BB 82 - CH 77
Greg Tomchick: 2 2/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K - Velo: 89-92 on FB, T 94 - CB 77 - CH 84
Will Changarotty: 3 1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (unofficially) - Velo: 87-88 on FB, T 90 with movement - CB 76, and CH 75-77
I didn't track the game as intently as I should have for the first three frames, but one of my notes is that Bryce Denton charged in on a grounder, scooped it up cleanly, but forced the first baseman off the bag with a wide throw. The reason I noted that is because of defensive questions surrounding Denton at the hot corner - he may ultimately wind up in a corner outfield spot.
In his fourth and final scoreless inning of work, Hicks gave up a leadoff double before the Marlins farmhand was thrown out on a quick relay to third. The righty walked his second batter before he was erased on an inning-ending double play.
Hicks seemed to lose three or four ticks on his fastball in the fourth, but was later affirmed by scouts that he was 90-91 the whole time and appeared healthy and was surprisingly effective considering his high walk count. The righty tossed 52 pitches - 25 fastball strikes/29 strikes overall and 23 balls in this outing.
Immediately following his outing, Hicks threw a short side session to finish his work before hanging up the spikes for the day.
Allen Cordoba opened the next half inning by poking an outside pitch and taking it the other way for a lead-off double. Not trying to do too much, he stayed on the pitch and displayed innate hand-eye coordination on that base-hit. Cordoba showed baserunning headiness to take third promptly on a wild pitch. Mason Katz knocked in Cordoba on a hard line drive single for what was the game's first tally by my count.
Luis Bandes struck out on a fastball upstairs for the first out before Katz was caught stealing for the second out. Bryce Denton drilled a loud out number three to end the frame.
Tomchick took over for Hicks in the bottom of the fifth. He walked the first two before retiring them on 1-5 put out and 4-6-3 double play. In the top half of the sixth, Allen Cordoba singled to make it runners on first and second. Katz delivered a two-run double before the inning was "rolled".
In the bottom half of the sixth, the Marlins pushed their first run across against Tomchick. First baseman Luis Bandes turned the rare 3-5-3 double play for two outs. Tomchick retired the final batter via a swinging strikeout upstairs on a fastball.
Bandes struck out looking to start the top of the seventh. Denton grounded out to third before Starlin Balbuena fanned. In the bottom half, Tomchick was given the hook after recording the first two outs - a groundout and flyout. With a runner on first via a walk, catcher Dennis Ortega cut down the runner at second attempting to steal, showcasing a strong arm.
Ortega popped out to first for the first out of the eighth. Sanel Rosendo popped out to the catcher. Luis Flores walked to extend the action, but the inning was rolled with Carlos Rodriguez at the plate.
Venezuelan Will Changarotty fanned the lead-off man on a diving curve for the first out of the eighth. He exploited the Marlins' young hitters with his ability to throw strikes, fanning the next batter and inducing a 6-3 groundout. The Red squad went down in order in the bottom of the eighth.
"Chango" sat down the Marlins in order - to what should have been the final inning. However, with a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the ninth, it was about the repetitions. Rehabbing Katz got another at-bat, fouling a pitch off his ankle bone before he fell to the ground. The middle infielder was in pain but insisted on staying in the game. He struck out swinging.
For continuing to build his innings up and showing positive, I am naming Jordan Hicks my Player of the Game.
Katz rehab update
On the Palm Beach disabled list, Katz has missed two months of the regular season with a groin injury. I was told the second baseman has been rehabbing for a couple of weeks now in extended which should signal his return sooner rather than later.
Dobzanski improving in EST
Bryan Dobzanski is excited about getting out extended and beginning his regular season. The right-hander said he has incorporated his entire body into his delivery, especially the use of his lower half. The former prep wrestling star told me he has been locating his pitches well and the stuff has been coming out right. Dobzanski said he has liked his results in extended, and the coaches would agree.
The 20-year-old was shut down last season at Johnson City as a precaution due to a shoulder injury. Dobzanski is averaging 90 mph on his fastball, topping at 92 on occasion.
Look for my interviews with Rowan Wick of Palm Beach and Bruce Caldwell of Springfield coming in the next week.
Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.
© 2016 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.