Another round of notes for you from today’s Winter Warm-Up. The main story coming a little later this evening at StLCardinals.com will be on McGwire, after a long chat with John Mozeliak today regarding the hitting coach.
* Brad Penny was emphatic that he’s never thought of himself as a strikeout pitcher, and will have no qualms about a pitch-to-contact approach in St. Louis. Asked about his low-K-rate, high-groundball-rate stint in San Francisco, he said he didn’t really change his approach but he was working with a slightly different arsenal.
“I was pitching to contact like I always do,” Penny said. “I’ve never had high strikeout numbers. I can’t remember a season where I’ve had a lot, except for the Minor Leagues. I started throwing a slider a little bit towards the end of the year, and I was getting more groundballs in a 1-0 count instead of having to throw a fastball over the plate.”
* Brendan Ryan talked a good bit about what he’s trying to do with his swing.
“He [McGwire] is trying to put me in a position to hit the ball better and be more consistent,” Ryan said. “I battle changing my stance every week. So the first thing was, let’s find a batting stance and let’s stick with that. the funny thing is, I had a hard time finding out who I am. So I just kind of started doing what Albert did, and I started taking good swings. so I’m going to hit like Albert this year, at least batting stance-wise. I’m going to try. That’s what we’ve been doing. It feels good. he’s got a pretty darn good swing obviously. If I can do an impersonation of that and fall just short, then I should have a pretty good swing too.”
* Jason Motte feels he’s finally found an offspeed pitch he can rely on — two of them, actually.
“I was going fastball-cutter,” he said, “and then a slider-curve kind of thing was my third one. Probably in that order.”
And, finally, Trever Miller had quite a lot to say in his session.
Miller on the team’s prospects: “I think we’re probably the favorite in our division. From the looks of our team, we’re strong everywhere.”
Miller on his shoulder: “It feels better this offseason. I just had my first round of long toss. All the exercise I do and all the training is what’s keeping it healthy and strong.”
Miller on McGwire: “The guy loves the game. To have to go through what he went through, coming out and telling everybody of the steroid use, there’s no doubt he loves the game. If you love the game, I love you. I can’t wait.”
And Miller on Ryan Franklin: “Frankie’s going to be our closer. He did a great job last year, one of the best in the game. he deserves the right to be the closer again, and I’m sure he’ll prove to everybody that he’s going to do it for the rest of his career.”
Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”
Garbage, “Silence Is Golden”
Cure, “Watching Me Fall”
Crystal Method, “Drown in the Now”