St. Louis Cardinals first baseman/corner outfielder Brandon Moss began a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Thursday night against NW Arkansas (KC).
Moss was placed on 15-day disabled list with left sprained ankle on July 5th after jamming his foot while running the bases. On Thursday, the left-handed hitting slugger was penciled in the three-hole for the S-Cards and made his rehab debut playing first base.
The 32-year old is batting .256/.344/.566 with 17 homers and 40 RBI through 75 games (250 at-bats) for the big-league Cardinals this season. As far as the duration of his rehab, Moss expects to be in Springfield until Sunday while easing his left ankle into action. He plans to play five innings Thursday night then progressing to seven innings Friday and eventually to full games by the weekend.
Below is a transcript from Moss's media session conducted before Thursday night’s game. In the presser, Moss details the rehab process, the plan going forward, and much more.
Media member: First, just talk about finally going out and stretching that thing out and playing some baseball.
Brandon Moss: "It was one of those things it takes time. I would have liked to be out sooner, but you can only do things that it allows you to do. I'm happier to be out here and just be able to play on it (right ankle). Hopefully, I'll just take a few games and get back with the team to make a (playoff) push right now.
"It's a very important part of the season, so it stings seeing your teammates going through that and you're not there with them."
MM: Is it frustrating that it's taken so long? You said you wanted to get back sooner.
BM: "I do, but it's actually a week ahead of schedule. When I did it (injured the ankle), they told me four to six weeks. I was in a boot for two weeks, and I'm one week out of the boot right now, but the thing is it gets better every day. Right now, I can hit, throw, and do almost everything without feeling it at all.
"It's not going to feel 100% because what I did to it will take some time to heal totally. I can play baseball, and I'm perfectly capable of hitting which is where I provide my value to the team."
MM: Did you jam (your ankle) on the bag? Is that what happened?"
BM: "I still couldn't tell you what I did to it. I jumped into the bag and sprained the inside of it and something they say is one out of ten ankle sprains are on the inside. How I did it? I don't know. I watch the video and still don't see anything I did to it. I certainly felt it.
"That's just one of those things that happens playing baseball. Let it heal and move."
MM: What is it like in the Cardinals organization with the Triple-A team in Memphis and Double-A here? You don't have to go too far to do something like this.
BM: "I think that's huge not only for rehab but for calling guys up and also just for interest. When you have teams that are close by to the parent team, it builds a lot of interest in those minor league teams also. It helps guys play in front of what would be a home crowd.
"I think it's great to have teams close by."
MM: We are at a point of the year with a lot of trade talk - you're not John Mozeliak - but the way the team is playing right now - do you see the club being buyers or sellers? How do you look at them?
BM: "I don't see us being sellers. We have a really good team. We haven't played poorly, but we haven't played our best baseball yet. There's a lot of talent on our team and whether we're buyers or whether we stand pat - we definitely have a team that can get to the playoffs.
"Once you get into the playoffs - it doesn't matter what the payroll is and who is on your team - anything can happen. Teams that expect to win - win it. It's all about getting there, and we have a team certainly capable of getting there. I definitely don't see us being sellers. We have a team that can get there."
MM: Brandon, do you have a specific plan in place as you progress through this rehab?
BM: "Play baseball and hope that it feels good. That's it. My plan is to just play baseball. You can do all the treatment and stuff that you want, but at the end of the day all that matters is if it feels good - play on it."
MM: You play a bunch of different positions. Are you going to try to do that here?
BM: "I know I'm playing first tonight, and I know I'm playing first tomorrow night because that is where I play most of the time. I'm sure I'll play the outfield once just because I play there sometimes. In all honesty, I've played baseball since I was 4-years old.
"You don't really forget how to play. You don't have to play every single position before you get back. You've just got to make sure you're healthy."
MM: With that ankle, is it easier to be at first vs. running in the outfield?”
BM: "I think so. I think it's easier, but either way it should be fine. If it's limited in the outfield, then I don't really know if I'm ready to come back. You have to help your team in every way you're able to help them. For me, that's playing a lot of positions and hitting."
MM: How many games do you expect to be there?
BM: "I expect to be here until Sunday."
MM: Do you expect to be eased into action like seven innings and then full games?
BM: "I think five (innings) today and then seven tomorrow and after that it should be full games."
MM: I know you are in the final year of your contract. Any pressure with that to get back?
BM: "No, not really. You can look at that two ways - you can come back too soon and worry about your numbers, or you could say you want to hurry up and put up numbers. I don't really look at it either way as that. I'm just trying to finish this year - play well to get us where we are trying to go. All of that stuff takes care of itself.
"You just go out there and play. Then at the end of the season, whoever is interested in you calls. That's all you can control."
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