Spring Training Notebook - 02/27

The Cardinals host the Florida Marlins Wednesday for the home opener and the first of 29 Spring Training games. Game time at 1:05 p.m. ET.

It was sort of a quite day at the ballpark today or so it seemed. Not even a lot of fans at the ballpark. Maybe it was because the temperature was inching up into the mid 80's for the first time since I've been down here.

The Coaches game rematch that we thought might take place today, was called off or perhaps never scheduled, regardless they didn't play.

A lot of drills today, rundowns, and balls hit back to the pitcher, defense and fungos.

The pitchers spent a good half an hour working on their bunting; of course it is always good when a pitcher can help his club win a game by moving a runner over from first into scoring position at second base.

Adam Kennedy was back on the field today, after complaining of a "twinge" on his right side. You couldn't tell he was having any problems during his infield practice. He did forego hitting again today, at least not live batting practice or on the field.

Kip Wells was very sharp on the mound today. If you are worried about him starting in the two hole of the rotation for St. Louis, then don't.

Pitching Coach Dave Duncan has wanted Wells here for at least three seasons and it looks like both parties are glad it finally happened.

Josh Kinney also pitched very well today facing, Gary Bennett, Scott Rolen, Scott Spiezio, Chris Duncan and Preston Wilson in live batting practice, and I don't recall anyone getting a solid hit off of Josh.

LHP Randy Keisler, who signed a split contract as a free agent in November, spent the majority of last season on the Sacramento shuttle before being designated for assignment in early August. He had an ERA of 4.50 in 10 frames for the A's. With Sacramento, he held lefties to a .215 batting average but at the Major League level they hit .353 against him.

I'm not going to get into a detail scouting report but at times, Keisler looks like he has great stuff and then somebody even like Pujols hits a foul ball and you would think by looking at Keisler's face, that he has just blown game seven of the World Series. I think he just needs to relax. He's not going to make the 25-man roster anyway. If he doesn't get cut completely, he'll pitch in Memphis.

RHP Mike Parisi is another one of our young pitchers that is having some problems here. The other day, pitching coach Dave Duncan, even interrupted Parisi while he was pitching during live batting practice, stopped BP and spent about 10 minutes talking with Mike about his mechanics and his release point.

Mike made 27 starts for Double-A Springfield last season, posting a 9-8 record with a 4.60 ERA. We recently ranked him as the Cardinals #25 prospect. His apparent poor showing so far looks a lot like what he was doing in the AFL this past season where he pitched in nine games and posted a 7.88 ERA.

I was told he had another rough session last week, but I didn't actually see it.

On a positive note Mike is putting the time and work in and it appears he knows what he is doing wrong, so hopefully he'll improve as spring training continues. You can't help but like this kid and want the best for him. I expect Mike to return to Springfield to start the season.

RF Ryan Ludwick went two for three yesterday and drove in two runs in the exhibition game and while it's not likely he'll break into the Cardinals outfield out of spring training, he could come in handy if the Cardinals have more than one injury to an everyday outfielder.

Finally, there is this skinny kid, #78 Kelvin Jimenez, who pitched in the exhibition game yesterday against the FAU Owls. He pitched two shut out innings yesterday in relief, facing the minimum six batters, striking out three of them.

La Russa wasn't all that impressed by anyone's performance yesterday. Basically if you were playing in that game, I hope you like Memphis bar-b-que, but La Russa did have praise for the performance of Jimenez.

Jason Scott our minor league editor and manager of our player database points out in Jimenez's profile, that he posted a 5.21 ERA in 26 games for Triple-A Oklahoma before suffering an elbow injury in July and missing the remainder of the season. In 38 innings, he struck out 40 and walked 24.

He signed a one-year minor league deal in December, but here is a kid that may be worth watching.

I'll see you at the ballpark.

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