Cardinals Winter Warm-Up Day 3

Dustin Mattison reports from day 3 of the St. Louis Cardinals fan event with all the news.

As the 2010 St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up comes to a close, the third day might not be as exciting as the previous one but it should be even more star-studded. Scheduled to attend are Hall-of-Famer Whitey Herzog and Albert Pujols. Also on the docket are staff ace Adam Wainwright and skipper Tony La Russa.

The highlight of the morning was the presence of the National League's current MVP, Albert Pujols. He says that he is proud of Mark McGwire for admitting his mistake.

Pujols says that Big Mac has to face someone bigger than any of us: Jesus Christ.

He still wants to finish his career as the Cardinal but will not negotiate a new contract during the season. "El Hombre" will be focused on baseball and wants no distractions. More from Pujols later this evening.

Adam Wainwright walked into the room after putting together his best season as a major league pitcher. But don't ask him if he is surprised by his performance. The right-hander reiterated what he admitted to last year at the event, in his mind, he is an elite pitcher.

On his defending Big Mac a few weeks ago, he still defends the team's hitting coach. He defends him because he is a Cardinal.

He was not disappointed that he didn't win the Cy Young but was disappointed a Cardinal did not bring home the award. More from the Gold Glove winner later this evening.

But first up to the podium were two players that bring a little bit of intrigue to spring training. Kyle Lohse is out to prove he is healthy after an injury riddled 2009 and Allen Craig is out to prove that he can be the player the Cardinals are looking for.

Kyle Lohse reports that he has been playing catch for two weeks. The right-hander reports throwing from 300 feet with good effort and has not had any tightness and any lingering effects are gone.

Regarding his injury-riddled 2009, he hopes that after a couple of bullpen sessions at spring training, the whole issue will be forgotten as in, ‘I'm already tired of answering questions about it.'

The right-hander is doing the same weight program that he has done during previous offseasons. Though he has not lost weight like teammates David Freese and Kyle McClellan, Lohse instead is always trying to put on some weight.

The 31-year-old is excited about the prospects of new teammate Brad Penny. He knows how much Dave Duncan helped his own game and is anxious to see how the pitching coach can help mold Penny with all the tools the newest Cardinal brings to the team.

On paper, he believes the Cardinals' rotation is down one of the best in the league. That being said, he knows that it will take a lot of work and the team's coaching staff will make them go out and earn it.

Lohse believes that it is a good problem to have to only one rotation spot to fill. He has been on teams that were looking to fill out the three-four-five spots in the rotation.

On the possibility on pitching in Minnesota in early April, he does find interest in pitching against good friend Nick Punto. But he would volunteer to stay in Florida if needed.

Allen Craig made his way to the podium as the Cardinal Nation's reigning player of the year. He sees himself as a guy that plays outfield and is willing to take groundballs at third base.

The 25-year-old looks at last spring as a really great experience. He wasn't bummed about not making the team.

Craig feels he can play third base but it is "just something you roll with." He's been taking groundballs this winter and wants to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise of any opportunities.

When asked about his move off third base in the minors, he felt it was a common sense issue. He knew the Cardinals liked Freese defensively and the team drafted Brett Wallace to play third so he knew he was the odd man out.

Being named the Player of the Year is not something that he takes lightly. "I have worked hard and being recognized on the Triple-A level is a big deal to me," Craig said.

He played left field during his junior year at Cal and feels comfortable out there now.

When at the plate, he says that he makes an effort to up the middle and to right field. He has always had an opposite field stroke and had to learn to pull the ball with power. An asset he likes to use especially when things are going the greatest at the plate.



Check back later for more reports and photos from Senior Minor League Writer Dustin Mattison here at The Cardinal Nation.

Link to Winter Warm-Up Day 2 Recap.
Link to Winter Warm-Up Day 1 Recap.



Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.com. Follow Dustin on Twitter.

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