Spring Training Notebook - Thursday 02/22

The St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Notebook, with Ray Mileur reporting from Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida.

The day begins with the players reporting in around 8:30 as usual with the coaches meetings taking place at 9:00 am, and Cardinals manager, Tony 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 15 minutes before breaking out into groups.

At 10:00 AM the players begin throwing and loosening arms, for 10 minutes before breaking down into groups to work on defense.

Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio and Travis Hanson worked out together at third. Rolen and Speizio both looked sharp on defense but they are still in the early stages of getting their arms ready for the long throw to first base. Hanson, a former organization Minor League Player of the Year, looked awkward at times with his foot work. He is never squared with the ball when he catches as is Rolen and Spiezio most of the time. Hanson handled backhanded plays very well and was getting some tutoring from Rolen about the plays in front of him.

Hanson is one of those guys who will make that great play one moment and than mishandled the next routine play. Clearly Hanson has the talent the question is will he be able to put it all together this season, which could be a make of break season for the 26-year-old infielder.

It has been suggested that the Cardinals might consider moving Hanson to left field, but the problem there is, the Cardinals already have 12 outfielders in camp and certainly Hanson would have trouble finding at-bats this spring, plus I've haven't heard anyone in the organization that is even considering moving him to the outfield.

The Cardinals brass was on the back fields this morning watching the live batting practice at field #3. Among the brain trust present behind the batting cage; Vice President & General Manager Walt Jocketty; Vice President, Player Procurement & Development Jeff Luhnow; Assistant to the General Manager John Mozeliak and Vice President, Player Personnel Jerry Walker. Among the battery teammates pitching today include;

Chris Carpenter & Gary Bennett
Anthony Reyes & Yadier Molina
Brad Thompson & Brian Esposito
Blake Hawksworth & Eli Marrero
Chris Lambert and Ryan Christianson

Carpenter and Reyes both look good on the mound today. Anthony Reyes is expected to be somewhere in the rotation when the season starts was impressive facing; INF Travis Hanson, OF J-Rod Rodriguez, 3B Scott Rolen (who was even made to look bad by the young right hander on a couple of pitches) and OF Preston Wilson (who is having the most fun of anyone at spring training)

The pitcher who appeared to struggle with his control the most today, was the pitcher that I thought looked better just a couple of days ago, Brad Thompson. With the Cardinals' brass watching his every pitch, Thompson had trouble finding the plate, facing; 2B Adam Kennedy, INF Aaron Miles, INF Edgar Conzalez and SS David Eckstein, who Thompson actually hit, with a ball clipping the shortstop on his backside on a pitch threw practically behind him.

Blake Hawksworth appeared sharp as he faced the likes of Albert Pujols, Jolbert Cabrera, Rick Ankiel and Scott Spiezio.

Chris Lambert the former Boston College star, faced off against INF Tagg Bozied (who played well at first today throughout drills), OF Chris Duncan (who looks ready to hit more than the 22 home runs he hit last season), OF Skip Schumaker and OF So Taguchi (who will see more playing time with outfielders Jim Edmonds and Juan Encarnacion sidelined, recovering from off season surgeries).

Chris Lambert probably is wondering about his future holds with the Cardinals, with pitching coach Dave Duncan calling him "Mike" today.

So in summary the pitchers on the throwing program today included; Chris Carpenter, Anthony Reyes, Brad Thompson, Blake Hawksworth and Chris Lambert, all of the healthy and not experiencing any problems other than continuing to work on their control and getting back in shape for the season.


Former St. Louis Cardinal Eli Marrero, signed to a minor league contract as a free agent on November 28, 2006, is listed on the roster as a catcher and today he spent most of his time behind the plate. The Cardinals like his ability to play in the outfield, but so far it appears he'll spend a majority of his time catching this spring.

A 3rd round draft pick of the Cardinals in 1993, Marrero played seven seasons with the Cardinals from 1997-2003. Since then, he has played for Atlanta, Kansas City, Baltimore, Colorado and the New York Mets after being sent to the Braves in a trade with J.D. Drew that brought Jason Marquis, Adam Wainwright and Ray King to the Cardinals. He is a career .243 hitter with 66 home runs in 724 Major League games.


The Cardinals have 28 pitchers in camp to go along with eight catchers, 11 infielders and 12 outfielders.

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