Hello from what is likely the most memorable Winter Warm-Up day in the eight years I’ve covered this event. The McGwire introduction and news conference were certainly experience. Hopefully later in the week I’ll be able to post an entire blog entry on all the weirdness, but if you haven’t checked out my tweets and Twitpics, that should provide at least a little color. And I have a story on all of it going up on the site shortly.
On with the tidbits:
* Skip Schumaker said that he’s very close to getting a 2010 contract squared away. Schumaker, of course, is under team control for ’10, so it’s not like it’s a matter of keeping him or losing him. It’s just a matter of dollars, and ideally of avoiding an arbitration hearing.
“Getting close, but no deal done yet,” Schumaker said. “I don’t think either of us wants to go to arbitration. I don’t have anything bad to say about them, so I don’t want to go. But it all works out. I understand the business side of it. It all works out.”
Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick are the Cardinals’ only arbitration-eligible players.
* Matt Holliday told reporters that he no longer takes any kind of supplements.
Holliday was asked whether he would ever put something in his body without knowing what it was — an excuse that has sometimes been used by players who have used steroids, claiming they did it unknowingly.
“No,” he said. “I think it’s my responsibility as an athlete to know what I’m putting in. I’m not willing to take risks if I don’t know it’s been approved. They have those approval things that the Players’ Association hands out. I quit taking any supplements altogether, just stick to a protein shake and that’s about it. I don’t feel that that’s any area where I’d take a chance.”
* I’ll have a full-length story on David Freese going up on the site this evening. He talked at length about the aftermath of his drunk-driving arrest this winter, so I’ll avoid that topic here. But another bit from his chat with us: Freese said that he has lost weight and drastically reshaped his body this winter.
“I’ve lost 16 pounds, down to 9 percent body fat, working with [conditioning coach] Pete Prinzi,” Freese said. “I’ve been real focused. Obviously I had a little bump in the road but getting down there to Jupiter and trying to make that squad and help this team win is one of my top priorities.”
* In another conditioning-related story, Colby Rasmus is going about a different program this winter. Last year when we saw Rasmus at the Warm-Up, everyone was struck by how much bulk he had put on. This year, in hopes of holding up better over the course of a full season, he’s worked much less on mass and more on endurance.
“Last year going in I tried to focus more on putting on a lot of weight and getting bulked up,” Rasmus said. “Tis year I’m doing more conditioning, running, sleds, hills, that type of thing. Just to try to see if that will change up a little bit and be able to last a little longer instead of being big and looking for more power. Just be able to keep my body more maintained.”
Today’s playlist is a wind-down after a long day:
The Who, “Getting in Tune”
Rolling Stones, “Ventilator Blues”
Jimi Hendrix, “Castles Made of Sand”
Bob Marley, “No Woman No Cry”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”