By: Jim Tsapelas
Today is February 17, 2016. Today is the first required day for pitchers and catchers to report for Spring Training. For many of the St. Louis Cardinals, February 17th was just an arbitrary, MLB formal day-as many members of the team have been at the Spring Training facility for quite some time. Cardinals’ Manager, Mike Matheny, arrived last week and was spotting Adam Wainwright this past Monday, as Wainwright engaged in an unofficial work out.
The Cardinals have sixty-one players who shall eventually make their way to camp; including the members listed on the Forty Man Roster and twenty-one non-roster invitees. The pitchers and catchers will begin their official workouts on Thursday, February 18th. As the pitchers and catchers officially workout, the position players will participate in informal on-field activities.
The Official Reporting date for position players is February 22nd; with the first full team work out scheduled for February 23rd. Nine days after that, the Redbirds open Grapefruit League play against the Miami Marlins at 12:05 Central Time at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida. This is all in preparation to Opening Day on April 3rd, when the Cardinals travel to Pittsburgh to meet the Pirates in the Pirates home opener at 12:05 Central.
Spring Training Odds and Ends:
Yadier Molina reported to camp, early, sans the cast which has been on his left thumb since his second off season surgery. As Cardinal Nation well knows, On September 20, 2015, during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, Molina reportedly tore a ligament in his thumb. Molina was attempting to apply a tag on Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo on a close play at home. Rizzo’s foot clipped Molina’s glove and damaged his thumb. It was a clean play on both Rizzo’s and Molina’s intentions and attempts. However, unfortunately for Molina and the Cardinals it effectively ended his regular season.
Being the gritty veteran and team leader that he is Molina, who is thirty-three, attempted to play through the injury in the NLDS against the Cubs. Molina had been fitted with a special supportive brace in an attempt to protect his thumb from further injury.
The three games in which he appeared in the NLDS, Molina was largely ineffective, offensively; and demonstrated some difficulties defensively. Molina sat out the Cardinals’ postseason ending loss in Game Four. The next day, Molina experienced his first thumb surgery of the 2015 post-season which had proven to be unsuccessful.
On Monday, Molina announced he would be ready for play on Opening Day. Time will tell!
Who’s on first? This Spring Brandon Moss and Matt Adams shall be auditioning for the starting first baseman position. Throw Stephen Piscotty into the mix, and Matheny may come North with ideas of using a platoon system at first.
The “Final Boss”. During the offseason the Cardinals acquired Seung-Hwan Oh; an elite closer in the Korean Baseball Organization and Japan’s Central League. Following nine seasons in Korea, Oh played for the Hansin Tigers of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and had a 2.73 ERA and 8.6 K/9 in 2015.
Over eleven season, spanning 498 games, Oh 33, has a lifetime 1.81 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 10.7 strike outs per nine, and 5.18 K/BB in 646 1/3 innings. Oh was also an Olympic Gold Medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Games. It shall be interesting to see if Oh, can make the transition from playing in the Korean and Japanese Professional Leagues to MLB. Asian baseball is more similar to American AAA-Level Baseball than MLB.
Kevin Seigrist, has been developing a curve ball in the offseason.
Suspension City. The Cardinals’ Number One Prospect, Alex Reyes, is sitting out a fifty game suspension for violating Minor League Baseball’s Substance Use Policy. Reyes, is allowed under MiLB and MLB rules to workout with the team this spring. According to MiLB and MLB rules, Reyes is prohibited from appearing in any Grapefruit or MLB games where an admission is charged. Reyes is a 6’3” RHP with a three year minor league record of 18-20; and an ERA of 3.15. Reyes possesses a solid delivery, an effortless fastball that sits in the 92-95 mph range and occasionally hits 100 mph. Look for Reyes to spend time in St. Louis, following his fifty game suspension. Reyes also has in his pitch arsenal a quite impressive curve ball. He is often compared, within the Minor League system, to former Cardinal Shelby Miller.
Here’s to the 2016 Season!
Thanks for Reading!