Spring Training Notebook - 02/21

Day #7 of Spring Training and the second day for the whole team working out together. Naturally everyone is still taking it a little easy breaking back into the daily grind of playing baseball. More than once I heard coaches telling players to take it easy.

The day begins with the players reporting in around 8:30. The coaches meetings take place at 9:00 AM, with La Russa holding court in the Clubhouse meeting at 9:20 AM.

The players break to the field and begin their stretch and conditioning program at 9:45 AM for 30 minutes before breaking out into groups.

At 10:15 the players begin throwing and loosening arms, while the pitchers on the throwers program continue to stretch and do more conditioning in preparation for throwing batting practice beginning at 10:45.

The pitchers not throwing today, worked on things like, balls hit back to the pitcher, bunt plays and ragball.

The pitchers that threw today included, Jason Isringhausen, Kip Wells, Adam Wainwright, Josh Kinney, Ricardo Rincon, Mike Smith, and Randy Keisler.

Ricardo Rincon looks better than you might expect, throwing to batters for the first time this spring, after missing last season because of shoulder and elbow surgeries. His arm appears to be fine, he isn't complaining of any pain or soreness.

It's too early to make judgments about any pitchers, but Brad Thompson looked better than most, pitching batting practice Monday and don't count him out as a potential starter. My early take on Thompson, is he could wind up in Memphis as a starter and be back later in the year, or be in the rotation in 2008.

Got my first look at Kip Wells and he looks fine, considering he was facing batters for the first time this spring. I expect him to fare better than most people do, here in St. Louis.

The club's staff ace and perhaps the only guaranteed starter, Chris Carpenter was working on his defense and bunting Wednesday. He is adding a change up to his repertoire this spring, and that probably not going to be good news for National League hitters.

Over on field five today, David Eckstein, Brendan Ryan, Adam Kennedy and Aaron Miles were working on defense, Eckstein with Miles at short and Ryan and Kennedy at second.

Eckstein and Kennedy looked like they have been playing together all their life. The feeds from Kennedy to Eckstein for double-plays were basically perfect.

Outfielder Rick Ankiel, who missed the entire season, will get plenty at bats this spring with Juan Encarnacion and Jim Edmonds both nursing injuries. Encarnacion isn't likely going to be ready to play in a spring training game until the third or fourth week of March and Edmonds is looking at April 1, as the earliest he'll be ready and I wouldn't be surprise to see Edmonds miss the first week of the season.

Last spring, Ankiel looked like the best hitter on the club, prior to tearing up his knee, so he'll be interesting to watch this spring.

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