St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up

The Birdhouse's Dustin Mattison wraps up Day One of the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up. Among other things, one of the big questions of the day, will Chris Carpenter be ready on opening day?

It has been a weekend marked on the calendars of most St. Louis Cardinal fans. Not only does it mean that warm weather is right around the corner but also Cardinal baseball is on its way. The organization is hosting its 13th annual Winter Warm Up at the Millennium Hotel in downtown St. Louis. It may be cold outside but the boys of summer are getting the crowds excited.

One of the highlights of Day 1 was a Q and A session that General Manager John Mozeliak participated in. Though it was not the members of the media that asked the questions (though he recognized immediately that the media was attendance) but it was the fans that got to ask the questions to the captain of their favorite team.

Some interesting tidbits:

• The team on January 17, 2009 is not a finished product. (It seems to me the team will go to spring training and look at what it has and then look at the remaining free agents or the trade market to fill its needs. I would not look for a free agent deal before Spring Training.)

• Mozeliak is "bullish" on Colby Rasmus. When talking about five-tool players, "Mo" thinks Rasmus is a "tool shed".

• Though never really big on the Baseball America rankings, he definitely is excited with the organization's number eight ranking.

• When one fan asked if the team has ever looked at the New York Yankees Robinson Cano, the GM admitted to inquiring in on the second baseman this winter but the asking price was too high. That price? Adam Wainwright.

• There is a very good possibility that the team will carry six outfielders.

Chris Carpenter looks great and says he feels great. He is approaching this off-season as any other, not as if he is coming off an injury. Thinks there is a good possibility that he makes 28+ starts and expects to be on the team's opening day lineup. He says he is "excited about the way his arm feels."

Todd Wellemeyer wants to build on his successful 2008. Though he has not spoken to his agent, he believes a deal will be done shortly (possibly by Monday).

Adam Kennedy is glad to be back and is gearing up for what he feels will be his biggest season of his career (in matter of importance). Kennedy feels Khalil Greene is one of the best shortstops in the National League and his disappointing 2008 should not be held against him.

Chris Duncan reports he is healthy and has no limitations. He admits to having a chip on his shoulder and wanting to prove that he can play.

Josh Kinney has been throwing his breaking pitches and was proud of his biggest off-season accomplishment, shooting a bear.

Chris Perez has been working out and the results are very noticeable. He looks very slim. He reports of having bone spurs in his left ankle that only affect him when he stands or runs. Not when he pitches.

Brian Barton has been training at the MLB Academy in Compton. His hand feels good and he is looking forward to building off last year and competing for a spot in spring training.

Joe Mather reports his hand is 90% and looks forward to taking groundballs at second base. Mather will bring three gloves to spring training.

Seems some of the weight that Perez lost was picked up by utility infielder Brendan Ryan. The 26 year old has really bulked up by adding 10-15 pounds.

New bullpen piece, Trevor Miller, grew up in Louisville, KY, former home of the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate. Miller was extremely excited about joining the organization of his favorite team growing up. The southpaw reminisced on watching fleet-footed outfielders Willie McGee and Vince Coleman during his youth. He says that he played centerfield because that was the position of one of his favorite players, Andy Van Slyke.

Fellow LOOGY Charlie Manning is excited about his opportunity with the Cardinals. The former Washington National was used in "every role" though he is most used to being used for a whole inning not as a specialist, but he does welcome that role. Manning is interested in playing under Dave Duncan after being a teammate of Shelly Duncan in the New York Yankees organization.

Brett Wallace was somewhat overwhelmed by his first Winter Warm Up. Seems the Cardinals first round pick got to town on Friday night and was prepared to go out to dinner with a friend. What he didn't expect was to be recognized, in street clothes. But the power hitting infielder was and was quite amazed with the "kind of fans you want to play with."

On Deck

On the schedule for day two, Rick Ankiel, David Freese, Ryan Ludwick, and Kyle McClellan.

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