Cody's Corner - #5

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

On Monday, MLB announced that Cardinal minor league manager, Ron "Pop" Warner, would be the Surprise Scorpions manager in the upcoming Arizona Fall League (AFL).  Warner is currently the manager of the Palm Beach Cardinals in the Florida State League (high-A). Warner has his team tied for first in the second half of the FSL season. 

 

Warner is in his fifth year of serving in the Cards minor league system. Hired in 2001, he started as a coach at New Haven (AA). From there, he went on to coach at New Jersey (short-A) during the 2002-03 seasons. Last year, he was the hitting coach at Peoria (low-A). The Chiefs led the Midwest League in batting with a .277 team batting average last season.

 

Assisting Warner will be P. J. Forbes (Phillies) and Kernan Ronan (Angels). Forbes is currently managing the Lakewood BlueClaws (low-A) in the South Atlantic League and will serve as the team's hitting coach. With 17 years as a pitching coach in the Angels organization, Ronan will also do likewise for Warner. Ronan is currently the pitching coach with Cedar Rapids in the Midwest League (low-A).

 

The league has been a stepping stone to the major leagues for eighteen former AFL managers since its inception in 1992.  That group includes current managers Dusty Baker (Cubs), Mike Scioscia (Angels), Terry Francona (Red Sox), Ken Macha (Athletics), Lloyd McClendon (Pirates), John Gibbons (Blue Jays) and Bob Melvin (Diamondbacks). Thirty-seven former AFL coaches and 21 former AFL trainers are serving in the major league ranks.

The Cards minor league organization will supply seven players to the Scorpions roster. Recently, Bruce Manno was in town to watch the Springfield Cardinals play. One evening, he approached Cody Haerther and informed him that he would be one of the seven players that the Cards would be sending out to Arizona this fall.  When reached by phone yesterday and asked how it felt, Cody replied, "It feels TERRIFIC".

 

In 83 games (286 AB's) for the 2005 season, Cody is batting .294, with an OBP of .364, a slugging % of .510 and OPS of .874. He's recorded 12 doubles, seven triples, 12 HR's and driven in 47 runs in 83 games at Palm Beach (hi-A) and Springfield (AA).  At the beginning of the 2005 season, Baseball America rated Cody the ninth best prospect in the Cardinals minor league system. Former ESPN minor league coverage writer, John Sickels, had him as the #3 prospect in the Cardinals minor league system in his pre-season rankings.

 

Now Cody will take his bat to the AFL this fall against some of the top pitching prospects in all of MLB.  It should feel "TERRIFIC".

Now on to Cody's mailbag:

 

Question of the Week from Brent Schade: Cody, what are your plans for 2006? How far do you expect to get? Do you think you could be in St. Louis by the end of the year? The second question is what do you think the club's plans are for you next year? Do you think they will start you at Springfield or Memphis?

 

Well Brent, I wish I had a crystal ball that I could look into and let you know for sure where I would be. However, as we all know, baseball works in funny ways and anything can happen at any given time. This off season I will be playing in the Arizona Fall League, which I'm very excited about. As far as next year in concerned, my goal will be to finish up the year in AAA (at Memphis). But like I said, you never know what's going to happen. I'm just going to go to the field everyday, play hard, do my best and hopefully the rest will take care of its self.

From Jason Scott: Hi Cody. I'm pretty sure that you played with Kyle McClellan last season at Peoria. Have you heard anything lately about his injury? I heard that it might require Tommy John surgery.


Thanks for your concern about Kyle. I consider Kyle my closest friend in the Cardinals organization. He did undergo Tommy John surgery last Friday. The surgery went very well and he seems to be recovering well. Within the next couple of weeks he will begin doing therapy at Busch Stadium with some of the other big leaguers that are doing rehab there. It's unfortunate that Kyle had this surgery, but he has age on his side and I'm sure he will bounce back better than ever. Thanks again for you concern Jason.

 From Gagliano (Forum Moderator): Hi Cody. I've two questions for you. First, have you been around any of the old time great Cards (Gibson, Brock, etc), or (George) Kissell, as you've worked with the team? If so, is there something that you've learned, or a great story to tell? Second, do you know what your plans will be for the off season? AFL? A trip the Latin America
? Hope you're leg is doing well, and thanks again for doing the column.

Thanks for the e-mail Gags. This off-season I will be playing in the AFL. I am very excited about it and I'm looking forward to the challenge.

 

I have had the privilege of working with Mr. Kissell in the past 3 Spring Training camps.  He is by far the greatest baseball mind that I have ever met. He loves to work with us and talk about past and present ballplayers. He's always around the complex at Jupiter and will work extra with you if you want it. Just a great person.

From Brian Walton:  1) Did you feel any more pressure playing on television (Fox Sports Midwest) last Thursday night? 2) Do you feel more pressure having been named by Baseball America as one of the Cardinals' top ten prospects? 3) In the lower minors, you lived with host families, correct? Had you been away from home for an extended period before signing? What was that experience like (living with host families)?

 

I tried not to think about being on TV. But, I must say it was in the back of my mind, because it was my first time playing on TV. I even got lucky and hit a HR. After the game I was able to watch it on TV, so that was pretty cool.

 

It is a great honor to be considered a Top Prospect in the Cardinals organization. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else does or by anything that I read. Every year there is a new draft class coming in and it makes it harder to remain up at the top. I'm going to do my best to remain a top prospect in the organization.

 

My first year in Johnson City, Tennessee they did not have host families. They have the option to have them now, but I am sure I missed out on a great opportunity to meet some nice people. Thanks for your e-mail Brian.

 

If you have questions that you would like Cody to answer next week, you can send them to Cody at Codyscorner@hotmail.com. 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. 

 

And as an added bonus, any question received during the month of August receives one entry (one entry per person) into the "Live the Life of Luxury" contest sponsored by thestlcardinals.com.  If your question is used in the column during the month of August, you'll also receive a second entry into the contest.  Check out our Cardinals Message Board for more information on the "Live the Life of Luxury" contest. You could win two tickets to join the Birdhouse staff in its suite for the Cards-Astros game on September 28th. Hope to see you there.

 

Cody's Corner is weekly column appearing only at the Birdhouse at www.thestlcardinals.com.


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