Mateo meets Pujols, media
ST. LOUIS — Wagner Mateo got a look on Monday at the ballpark he hopes to call home in a few years. Exactly how many years is open to debate, but Mateo is optimistic.
Mateo, 16, signed with the Cardinals as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic earlier this month. He agreed to terms on July 2, the first day agreements can be reached with 16-year-olds in the Dominican. The final details have been hammered out over the past few weeks, and on Monday the Cardinals brought Mateo in to see Busch Stadium.
He also met the media, with Cardinals vice president of scouting and player development Jeff Luhnow serving as translator.
“He said it was very meaningful for him to come to Busch Stadium for the first time,” Luhnow said for Mateo, “and he hopes to be back within two or three years.”
That’s probably a bit aggressive. Though Mateo is polished for 16 years old, he won’t even begin playing games in the Cardinals’ system until next year. He signed a 2010 contract, and the club will work him out at its Dominican academy over the winter. He’ll report to Minor League Spring Training with the hope that he can report to rookie-level Johnson City next summer.
In the meantime, he’s getting a look around. Mateo took swings in the batting cage at Busch Stadium, and even got a couple of bats from Albert Pujols — not to mention a pointer from the slugger.
“He [Pujols] said don’t move around so much,” Mateo said through Luhnow.