Among those with the club are general manager John Mozeliak and young sons of several Cardinals. They include Tate Matheny, drafted by the organization in June but not signed, as well as younger children of Mark McGwire, Matt Holliday, John Mabry and equipment manager Rip Rowan.
It isn't scoreboard watching in the afternoon
Three hours before the game, members of the pitching staff as well as catcher Tony Cruz were watching the Cubs-Reds game on one of the clubhouse televisions.
Sugar Shane more accessible to fans
Eye-catching prospect pitchers
When asking about some of the unsung minor league hurlers drawing discussion among the coaches, a pair of converted infielders were mentioned. Sam Tuivailala hitting 98 mph and Yunier Castillo mowing down New York-Penn League hitters are noteworthy.
I spoke with new arrival, #8 - Ryan Jackson, before the game. He learned of the news of his promotion while the Memphis club was delayed in DFW Airport on the way back to Memphis from their West Coast trip. His first call was to his Mom, Sally, and Dad, Lenny. The two are at the game Friday night along with his maternal grandfather, Tom, who flew in from Chicago. Jackson's parents came in from Miami.
Jackson stayed Thursday night in Memphis before joining his new teammates on Friday in Philadelphia. He admitted that he "closed his eyes," but his heart was beating too fast for him to get much sleep.
The natural shortstop reminded me that he did not play any second base in the Arizona Fall League in 2011, but did play a lot at third and even a bit at first. The latter he called "interesting" while noting he hadn't played the position "since T-ball."
Jackson's offense may be his biggest question mark, but he doesn't think so. "I had a rough stretch in July, but I've felt solid at the plate all year," he said. I chose not to dampen his spirits by asking about his four-strikeout performance in his last game with Memphis.
Summarizing manager Mike Matheny's pre-game remarks
"It is always exciting – the first day in the big leagues… I am excited to see what he can do… He will be a utility-style infielder and can swing off the bench as a right-handed batter versus a left-handed pitcher…"
On Jon Jay leading off:
Overall, Matheny was pleased with the hot-hitting centerfielder, but offered suggestions on how to do even more. "We want him to work the count better… The goal is to get on base… Don't take one or two pitch at-bats… that does no favor to the #2 and #3 hitters."
On whether to skip a starter on the upcoming day off and keep Adam Wainwright on every fifth day:
There is no decision yet and the manager did not know when it would be made. My interpretation is that it is unlikely.
"The cons are workload and skipping someone... That (skipping a turn) says a lot. It could be taken the wrong way (by the pitcher skipped)… We look at all options…
On Wainwright's improvement:
"He is not making many mistakes over the heart of the plate… The difference is location of his fastball and the effectiveness of his cutter…" His patented curve was not mentioned.
On Jaime Garcia's Thursday rehab outing:
No comment on whether another rehab start will be needed before Garcia rejoins the Cardinals. "Good response from last night. Confirmed with the manager and pitching coach at Double-A… If you go six innings on 75 pitches, you're doing something good."
On his team:
"I believe this team is as good as anybody. I told the team they could not convince me otherwise." He admitted no one had tried.
On Lance Berkman:
"He is feeling better… He is a week away from baseball activity… He has to get his timing back…"
On what Chris Carpenter is doing while with the team other than rehab:
"Yell, scream, make sure guys are doing what they should – doing what he does best… We like him being with us." Carp will be with the team on the road when it does not conflict with his rehab.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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