Spring Training Notebook – Thursday, March 23

Miscellaneous thoughts from Holman Stadium at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, where the sky was overcast and the temperature in the upper 70's – almost perfect baseball weather.

Bleeding Dodger Blue

In addition to chatting for a long time with former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, Tony La Russa had a cordial exchange with umpiring supervisor Richie Garcia prior to the game.


Wednesday leftover

I forgot to mention that on Wednesday at 9 AM, the Cardinals had a mandatory 30-minute "MLB Performance Enhancement Meeting". Let's hope the boys were listening.


Skip started early

While waiting his turn at batting practice, I asked Skip Schumaker if he was a natural left-handed hitter. He said that his Dad is ambidextrous, so he had looks from all directions as a kid. Skip seems acutely aware that his left-handed hitting is one reason he is still in camp.


Padres watching Cards

I saw Padres scout Ed Wade again at this game. It seems he is following the Cards, but probably a lot of teams assign scouts to follow teams.


Broadcasters not working

Dodgers broadcasters Rick Monday and Charlie Steiner arrived fashionably late in the third inning and plopped down front.


Walt among the rabble

Cards General Manager Walt Jocketty sat at the front of press row. These have to be the best press seats anywhere, about 20 rows back straight behind home plate. Of course, Walt seemed to spend most of the game on the phone, anyway.


Cody McKay update

I spoke with First Base Coach Dave McKay about his son, former Cardinal catcher Cody McKay. Cody was contacted by Team Canada for the WBC, but turned them down. He has jumped into the real estate business in the Scottsdale, Arizona area. Dave said he specifically asked Cody this spring if he was missing the game and was told "no".


"Soup day"

A spring tradition continued as the press wore Hawaiian shirts in honor of Jeff Suppan's start. My favorite was a powder-blue number worn by new WB11 broadcaster Wayne Hagin, who will make his 2006 Cardinals television debut this coming weekend.


On to the game…


Rolen and Choi uneventful this time

Scott Rolen, faced with a full-count with one out in first, sliced a ball into right to move Chris Duncan to third. However, I shuddered when Rolen approached Hee Seop Choi at first base. (The two collided last season, effectively ending Rolen's year.)


Gall with the Glove

John Gall made a nice running catch on the track in left center off the bat of former Cardinal J.D. Drew in the first. The sac fly did score a run.


Yadi's slick slide

Clearly not known for his speed, Yadier Molina made a great slide into third base on single to right center by Miles in the second inning to avoid a certain out. Great effort!


Eckstein in the clutch

David Eckstein delivered a two-out, two-run single in the second inning.


Edmonds with bat and glove

Jim Edmonds shot a ground rule double into the left field corner in the third inning and he took back a home run from Drew to end the fourth. He ran to his right, stretching his arm over the padded wall. It was a patented Edmonds catch.


J-Rod stroke

In the fifth, after an Edmonds single, John Rodriguez smoked a single past Choi at first base. If he hits like that regularly, he'll make the team.


Daubach finishes Soup

Having taken over for Chris Duncan, Brian Daubach made a very nice diving play to his right at first base to end the sixth. It was also the final out of Suppan's day. He allowed just four hits and two runs. A typical solid outing for Soup.


Duncan deep

Duncan, who moved to the outfield, stroked a double to the warning track in right center to start the seventh. Deivi Cruz followed with a seeing-eye single past first and Gary Bennett, hitting for Edmonds, hit an RBI single up the middle.


Spiezio shines, Gall dives

Scott Spiezio, in relief of Rolen, made a nice stab to save a double for Braden Looper off the bat off Ramon Martinez in the eighth. One hitter later, John Gall made a full-length diving attempt to flag down a double on the track in left. Gall gave it his all, even if he didn't quite reach the ball.


Falkenborg finish

Former Dodger Bryan Falkenborg got into trouble in the ninth, allowing two hits before fanning top prospect Joel Guzman on a called strike three. Spiezio then snagged a hot liner off the bat of Choi to end the 4-2 Cardinals victory. Of the two relievers fighting for jobs, Josh Hancock had the better day.


Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.


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