Pete Kozma and Charlie Kingrey are both hitting .328 and Matt Arburr is close behind at .280. There are several guys who are surprisingly low in the batting average department but they are all poised and ready to have a break-out weekend. Beau Riportella told me Wednesday night that he has benefited from the coaching that he's received since the beginning of the season and he feels good. He's going to have a big weekend.
From the mound, there are a few more bright spots. Cardoza Tucker, Jr. moved from the tandem starting position to the bullpen. He's going to be tried as a closer for now. There is no word on who will take the eighth tandem spot. Eduardo Sanchez made a great debut as closer. In Wednesday night's game, he went three perfect innings to seal the Bandits' victory.
This week, the spotlight shines on another pitcher. Recently I was privileged to conduct a second interview for the first time. Shaun Garceau played in the Quad Cities last summer and is back to start 2008. He turned 20 at the end of last season and has developed a lot of positive aspects over the winter. Here is a little of what we discussed:
Jon: Shaun, you know I don't conduct a typical baseball interview. Our readers know where to find your stats and the game reports. I want to give them a look at who you are. First, I'd like to know a little about your game, though. What part of your game are you working to improve this year?
Shaun: I'm working to stay on top of the ball. Control is the issue.
Jon: We all noticed that you claimed ownership of the inside of the plate on opening night. Didn't you hit three batters that night?
Shaun: Four… but they know not to crowd the plate now!
Jon: At what point in your life did you know that you wanted to pursue baseball as a career?
Shaun: I started seeing the possibility of going pro when I was a junior in high school. By the end of that year I knew I wanted to go to the Majors.
Jon: Tell me about your best moment in baseball so far.
Shaun: I once pitched a full game shutout. My dad was there to see the game so it was really cool.
Jon: Just to change the subject a little, what's your favorite color?
Shaun: Red. Cardinal Red.
Jon: And your favorite holiday?
Shaun: I've got to go with Christmas. My whole family gets together. Since we're Cuban we do a big hog roast.
Jon: Away from baseball, who is your favorite professional athlete?
Shaun: Payton Manning. You have to go for talent.
Jon: What do you like to do during the off-season to stay in game shape?
Shaun: I spend a month resting. Then I work out a lot. And I work—I give pitching lessons.
Jon: If you weren't a pitcher, what position would you want to play?
Shaun: I like the corners; either first or third.
Jon: Before you became part of the Cardinals organization, what was your favorite Major League team?
Shaun: I'm from Miami—the Marlins, of course!
Jon: Of the players on the team right now, who is most like you in playing style?
Shaun: I'd say Brian Broderick. We both throw for power.
Jon: What do you want Scout.com readers to know about you that they can't find in the stats on the Cardinals site?
Shaun: I'm very down to earth and laid back. I like to have fun. Friends are very important to me. I always want to be the best.
Jon: Thanks, Shaun! Keep up the good work!
This week's hot list: Kozma, Kingrey, Arburr, and Sanchez, as mentioned above. Adron Chambers has stepped up to the plate as well and is coming into his own. Jose Garcia has returned from the DL and is getting back into the swing of the game. He's also teaching me some Spanish!
This week's not so hot list: Thomas Eager is good but he's not showing his full potential yet. I know it's going to get better but it needs to get better soon. Riportella, Charlie Pelt, and Justin Roberson also need to have a good weekend.
This week's weather… was as nice as it gets. The Mississippi River has decided to take a closer look at the game. It's flooding to the point that I literally parked in the edge of the river on Wednesday evening. It's threatening to rain Thursday this week. I'm voting for baseball!
© 2008 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.