Random Batavia Muckdogs Thoughts: 07/15/09

Covering the Cardinals' New York-Penn League entry on Wednesday as Ryde Rodriguez had a career day.

I attended the Batavia Muckdogs at Hudson Valley Renegades contest on Wednesday afternoon. I'll be back on Thursday to collect even more interviews for Scout.com subscribers and photos for all. So far, I have spoken in depth with manager Mark DeJohn, pitching coach Tim Leveque and pitcher Justin Edwards.


Following are some random observations from the game:


A day later, the talk was still about Tuesday's final pitcher, Joe Kelly, who touched 94 to 97 mph, I was told.


Cuban expat Ryde Rodriguez was the star on this day with three RBI on three extra-base hits. One of his two doubles literally shot between the legs of the Bandits' third baseman before the latter could react. His home run was a line drive pulled to left. Rodriguez also made three strong throws from right. One completed a double play at third, one nailed a runner at home and the other almost got another runner crossing the plate.


The infield combination of Ryan Jackson, listed at 175 pounds and Guillermo Toribio, 160 pounds when soaking wet, look like they still have some growing to do. They are batting .164 and .176 respectively and went a combined 1-for-8 on Wednesday.


Also smaller than I remembered – catcher Luis De La Cruz (164).


11th-rounder Alan Ahmady seems a generous 5-foot-11 and told me that he is anxious and ready to see game action behind the plate. He was very complimentary of the help he received from Cardinals Minor League Catching Instructor Dann Bilardello.


The Muckdogs took another tough loss when a Xavier Scruggs error required pitcher Deryk Hooker to collect a fourth out in the eighth inning. That didn't happen until after he and Santo Maertz yielded three runs.


I spoke with D'Marcus Ingram before the game. The outfielder is well-aware that he represents much of the speed on the roster. He told me that he hoped to run this day. After stealing second base in the first inning, he was unceremoniously picked off and received an earful from manager and third base coach DeJohn.


It seems that the Cardinals always have instructors and coordinators around. Wednesday's was a new face to me – Cardinals pitching consultant Michael Witte. He is philosophically aligned with Minor League Pitching Instructor Brent Strom and Leveque and preaches the concept of "Classic Mechanics" – studying great pitchers of the past. I spent several innings of the game talking with Witte, a very interesting and knowledgeable fellow. He also has good taste as a subscriber to this site!  If his name doesn't ring a bell, check out this story from the New Yorker back in 2005.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.


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