Cody's Corner - A new weekly feature

The Springfield Cardinals outfielder and top prospect answers your questions about life and play in the Cardinals' minor league system.

Welcome to the first edition of Cody's Corner. Picked in the sixth round of the June 2002 Draft out of Chaminade College Prep in California, Cody Haerther has climbed the minor league ladder from Johnson City (Rookie-A) to Springfield (AA). And now the ninth-best Cardinal prospect, as rated by Baseball America this past spring, is part of the Birdhouse team. He'll be taking your questions every week and talking about Life in the Minors.

This past month Cody was named to the 2005 Florida State League All-Star team. Cody earned the spot on the team by being ranked in the top 20 of every offensive category in the FSL. Those type of numbers recently earned him a promotion to the Springfield Cardinals (AA).

Over the next few weeks, we're going to find out from Cody what it felt like leading up to draft day and what his reaction was when hearing the phone ring on draft day and being told he was selected by the Cards. We'll discuss what it's like starting out in rookie ball at Johnson City and then progressing up the ladder to Peoria and Palm Beach, and then finally getting the call in mid-season to advance to AA ball. What other surprises will this year bring? A trip to Arizona and the Arizona Fall League? Moving up to the Cardinals 40 man roster? A call to St Louis? If and when it happens, you'll get to hear the story behind it all.

Now to the mailbag:

Question of the Week - from Brent Schade: Cody, I just want to start by saying thank you for doing this. I appreciate all of the insight you will provide. My question is about you being placed on the disabled list recently. What was the injury? And when are you expected to be back in action? Thanks again and I look forward to seeing you in the Cardinal outfield in the future.

The reason I have not been playing lately is because last Wednesday in Little Rock, Arkansas I hyper extended my left knee. I did it by bunting for a base hit and while I was running to first base I jumped toward the bag while my left leg was completely locked out and straight. When I landed on the front side of the bag my left leg had no where to go but backwards! So my left knee bent in the opposite direction....not fun. I am not on the DL, which is a very good thing, because the Doctors and Trainers believe I will not be out that long.

Everyday I go to the field at 1pm to get my physical therapy work in. The last couple of days I have been running and doing a lot of work with that left leg. Batting practice is going well. The only thing that seems to be bothering me is running the bases. I can run pretty well in a straight line but when it comes to rounding bases and putting pressure on the outside of my left knee, it is pretty painful. I've had the knee checked out by a few Doctors and they all seem to agree that nothing extremely major is going on that will require surgery. So I remain positive that if everything keeps going well that I should be in the lineup in less that a week.

Brent, I just want to thank you for your concern on my health and thank you for the e-mail.

From Gagliano: Hi Cody, I post as Gagliano at Scout, affiliated with the Birdhouse, and am one of the moderators there. First, I just wanted to thank you for being willing to do this. I'm looking forward to what I can learn. So...on to some questions! First, how is your knee? Do you have a sense of when you'll be coming back? Second, I saw you play a couple games at Palm Beach and your stance was pretty open. Assuming that's the way you generally play, I was wondering if you could talk a bit about how you pick your batting stance. What are the things you look for, both for and against a given stance? And last for today [and I don't expect to see you do a column answering all my questions all the time!], I've got kind of a general question, or observation for you to comment on. I always think about statistics and winning on the farm vs. development. It would seem to me that the *main* purpose of the minor leagues is to help guys learn to be better ballplayers so they can help out at the big league level. And sometimes that would mean that a player would do something that might, in the short run, lead to worse statistics and more losses, but that might help in the long run. Do you have any thoughts or observations about that? Examples of it? Thanks, and best of luck in your work moving up the ladder. It's been fun to watch your success from afar.

Thanks Gagliano for the e-mail! Thank you about asking about my knee, which is getting better everyday. I would assume that if everything keeps going well and I keep getting better every day, I should be back in the lineup in less than a week.

About my stance - when I was in High School I had a completely different stance. I was more upright and less open than I am now. The reason I did this was while I was in Extended Spring Training and facing professional pitching for the first time, I learned very quickly that the pitchers can have more than just a fastball and throw them for strikes. I was not doing very well against off speed pitches because I was drifting past the point of contact. I knew I had to make an adjustment, because as we all know, baseball is a game of adjustments and the sooner you do them, the better. I began to put more weight on my back leg forcing myself to stay back on the off-speed pitches, which in turn, allowed me to see the ball a little bit longer. However, if I put too much weight on my back leg, then I can't generate a whole lot of power. So I have had to find a happy medium.

Great question about winning on the farm vs. development. Though they may be separate issues, I think they go hand and hand. If we are taught the right way to play and execute plays the right ways, we should win more times than not. Which is our ultimate win. But, there are always instances when the coaching staff is trying to teach you something. They may want you to make an adjustment and that adjustment may take awhile, which in turn will result is some "bad days" for a player. I think this mostly has to do with pitchers more so than hitters.

The reason I say this is because if the pitching coach wants a pitcher to try something new or work on a different pitch in a game for the first time, that pitcher might not have immediate success with the change at first. So if a pitcher and a position player have to go through an adjustment period for a few games to fix something and it is not working that well at first, we will always give it a chance and some time. Because ultimately we know that our goal is to play at the Big League level for a long time and if we have to struggle with an adjustment period, then so be it. Thanks again!

From Patrick Monaghan: I had one question with a couple of follow-ups: Do you feel like there is a big difference between using aluminum bats versus wooden? Was it hard to adjust? Do you think it is a disservice to potential future ball players that most high schools and colleges use aluminum bats? Thanks so much for your time!

I believe there is a big difference between using aluminum bats and wooden. Aluminum bats allow you to get away with "jam shot" hits, whereby a wooden bat would just break.

I found the transition between metal and wood to be a little bit easier than I expected. I believe the sole reason for that is because ever since I started taking hitting lessons, which I still do to this day, I always used a wood bat in the cages. I did not use it because I thought I was going to get drafted way back when I was 12 and 13 years old, but more so to build up the strength in my arms and wrists. I also knew that if in batting practice I could get the head of a wood bat out and make solid contact, then it would be a little bit easier with a metal bat.

I believe that using a metal bat in high school is the right thing to use. Kids in High School should use metal bats because they are not as strong as older players. Believe me, there is no way that I would have been able to use a wood bat everyday during my first 3 years of High School. I would have had no confidence and even a lot more money would have gone down the drain because of all those broken bats.

As for the College level using wooden bats, I cannot really comment on that because I never played college baseball. But, what I do know is that there are some monster college players out there that do very well with the metal bats and they sometimes have a hard transition to wood. So, why not start that transition in college? I know that it would make scouting a player out of college a lot easier.

Thanks again Patrick for your question.

If you have questions that you would like Cody to answer next Friday, you can send them to If your question is selected as the "Question of the Week" at Cody's Corner, your name will be entered into the drawing October 2nd for a free one year-premium subscription to the Birdhouse.

Cody's Corner is weekly column appearing only at the Birdhouse at

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