Results tagged ‘ David Freese ’

Friday camp tidbits: A (gasp!) normal day?

Greetings from what, at the moment, appears to be a normal, relatively quiet day at camp. Here are some of the tidbits from this morning’s session with TLR. Of course, check the site as the day goes on for fleshed-out versions of most of this, as well as for a feature on Mitchell Boggs.

* Lance Berkman is getting a day off from most of the defensive drills. TLR described it as simply a maintenance day after Berkman went full-on the past two days.
* TLR said that David Freese is feeling great, but that they won’t want to push Freese. As a result, Freese will play some in the early games, but not a great deal. Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso and Ramon Vazquez will all be candidates for a start or two at third base. Tyler Greene will probably play more at shortstop than at third this spring.
* The Cardinals will try to have “coaches’ games” each of the next two days, though it may be tough tomorrow. The club has a Spring Training season-ticket-holders’ reception after tomorrow’s workout, limiting how late in the day they can go. A portion of tomorrow’s workout will take place within the stadium rather than on the practice fields.
* Shelby Miller’s opportunities to pitch in the main ‘A’ games will probably be reduced as a secondary consequence of Adam Wainwright’s injury. The new fifth-starter competition means that more pitchers will be stretched out longer, which could squeeze out some innings for Miller.
* Adam Ottavino is a little bit behind some of the other fifth-starter candidates, in part because he’s coming off of health issues and didn’t pitch at all at the end of last year. TLR said that if Ottavino is the best, the club wouldn’t hesitate to use him, but that he’s definitely starting at a disadvantage.
* Boggs is one pitcher who will NOT be considered to start, despite his past experience.
And today’s playlist…
The Beatles, “Oh! Darling”
Elvis Costello, “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror”
The White Stripes, “Ball & Biscuit”
Keith Richards, “999”
Gregg Allman, “Just Another Rider”
-M.

Friday camp tidbits: The circus has left town

It finally felt like Spring Training today.

As TLR walked up to the diminished group of reporters, he quipped, “I’m sorry I’m late. I thought it was all over.”
And then he went into a 40-minute chat with the scribes, covering all sorts of ground. Heck, I even saw some batting practice and bullpen sessions today! So let’s talk baseball, rather than contracts.
* The Cardinals will be announcing some news with Jim Edmonds later today. FOX Sports Midwest is reporting that the news will be that Edmonds is giving up his comeback attempt, though it was unclear whether that meant he’s actually retiring or merely pushing things back for a while. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, meanwhile, just reported that Edmonds is in fact retiring.
Either way, TLR said we won’t be seeing Edmonds here tomorrow at the least.
* La Russa flew up to Atlanta last night for a function with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, an event also attended by Gen. Hal Moore. 
* According to the manager, David Freese should expect to play two out of every three games for a good portion of the season. Asked if he’d be pleased with Freese getting 110 starts this year, La Russa said he’d be just fine with that.
* TLR spoke yesterday with Tyler Greene about playing center field. He’s excited about the possibility of seeing Greene in the outfield.
* As we were standing around talking, several home run balls from a batting practice session peppered the media session and the bullpen mounds. Upon realizing that it was Ryan Theriot launching the blasts, La Russa joked, “That’s either a good sign or a bad sign.”
Today’s playlist:
Keith Richards, “Wicked As It Seems”
The Clash, “Clampdown”
Sugar, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind”
Screaming Trees, “Nearly Lost You”
Nirvana, “Serve the Servants”
-M.

Freese done for season

ST. LOUIS —  The Cardinals received very bad news on David Freese on Tuesday, learning that the rookie third baseman requires surgery to repair tendon damage in his troublesome right ankle. Freese will miss the remainder of the season.
Freese, 27, was a valuable member of the Cardinals’ offense when he was healthy, and it appeared he was close to a return to active duty. But while playing in a Minor League rehabilitation game at Double-A Springfield on Monday, he re-injured the ankle. He was removed from the game and returned to St. Louis. According to general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area as the one that landed him on the disabled list in the first place.
Following an examination on Tuesday, it was determined that Freese will need surgery.
That would be bad news for the Redbirds under any circumstances, but it’s doubly troubling in light of the trade the club made over the weekend. St. Louis sent outfielder Ryan Ludwick to the Padres in order to acquire pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland, and Freese’s imminent return appeared that it would soften some of the blow to the offense from that deal. With Freese lost for the season, the pressure may increase on the team’s front office to make an upgrade to the offense.
Freese last played on June 27. He hit .296 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .404 slugging percentage this year. Felipe Lopez has been manning third base for the most part in his absence.
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, June 16

Note of the night: Coming off two starts in which his command was off, his pitch counts ran high and he was done sooner than expected, Jaime Garcia wanted to right the ship. He wasn’t pitching badly, but he wasn’t getting as deep into games as he or the Cardinals wanted.

He succeeded on Wednesday, getting through seven innings on 111 pitches and issuing one walk — the third time this year he’s kept the walk total that low, and the first time since May 14. After the game, Garcia explained the changes he made.
He said that for one, he made some small mechanical tweaks, but that really wasn’t the big deal. It was more a matter of approach. He explained that what was happening was that he’d been aiming his fastball too narrowly.
Garcia was trying to throw pitches right on the black. But with the movement on his fastball, he doesn’t need to do that. Especially when pitching to a left-hander, he can aim more for the heart of the plate and get movement toward the edge.
“You kind of think about, OK, what is my fastball doing?” he said. “My fastball is moving this way [in on a left-handed hitter]. If it’s moving this way, try to use more of the middle of the plate so it will be on the corner. If it’s moving this way, and you go to the corner, it’s going to be a ball every time.”
Once he made that adjustment, Garcia was able to trust his fastball more, throw it earlier in counts, get ahead and work off of it. It’s pitching A-B-Cs, really. Get ahead with your fastball, then finish hitters off with your breaking pitches. When he wasn’t getting ahead with the fastball, hitters were laying off his offspeed stuff, leading to deep counts, walks and long innings.
“The last two starts are the only ones that I changed a little bit, trying to do too much,” he said. “You’ve got to step back and relax a little bit, think about, ‘OK, what is going on? There is something definitely going on.  Why are you walking guys? Trying to be too fine?’ So you look back at the video, realize what you’re doing and go back to where you were. Make adjustments.
“It’s [about] having more confidence in my fastball, and using the plate more. Early in the game, the last couple games, I was trying to be too fine and I ended up walking guys. Tried to be on the corner and the ball was [moving off the plate]. So I try to keep the ball down and use more of the middle of home plate. and then later you can go to the corners a little bit more, you can bounce a curveball. But it was more being able to get ahead with my pitches and then make adjustments as the game goes on.”
It worked very well. This was the Garcia the Cardinals want to see, even if he allowed more runs than he did in his previous game. He can be efficient, he can get groundballs and quick outs. And if he does that, he can not only be effective but help take strain off the bullpen.
Stat of the day: David Freese his hitting .318 with a .441 slugging percentage, which comes out to an isolated slugging percentage of .123. His career ISO in the Minors was .224, and it was never below .187 in any Minor League season.

Fun with double situational splits: Hitters are 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position against Garcia in June.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Gaslight Anthem, “Diamond Church Street Choir”
Beck, “Cellphone’s Dead”
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, “Around the Bend”
Wilco, “Monday”
Features, “Lions”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, June 1

Note of the night: You may have noticed that the bulk of the damage done against Cardinals pitching on Tuesday night came at the hands of a familiar hitter: Scott Rolen. The former Cardinal hit two home runs and a double to spearhead the Reds’ attack against P.J. Walters and the St. Louis bullpen.

Asked after the game about Rolen, La Russa had a comment that could be taken a couple of different ways. 
“He’s healthy and we have seen that,” La Russa said. “He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. 
“Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”
Now, you can take that as a really direct shot across Rolen’s bow, essentially accusing him of dogging it. Or you can take it as an attempt at the sort of self-deprecation that TLR does sometimes.
My read on it was that he did not intend the more sinister suggestion. Other people I asked in the press box disagreed. I’m sure some of you saw it on TV, so I’d be curious what you thought.
Stat of the day: The Cardinals lost for only the third time all year in a game where Colby Rasmus scored a run. They’re 19-3 when Rasmus scores. By contrast, they’re 18-6 when Albert Pujols scores, and 17-6 when Matt Holliday scores.
Fun with double situational splits: David Freese is batting .409 and slugging .667 against right-handers at home this year.
And, finally, the playlist:
This is an exact five-song sequence that came up on my iPhone this afternoon. Good stuff.
The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”
Drive-By Truckers, “Home Field Advantage”
Guns N’ Roses, “Used To Love Her”
U2, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (live, off “Rattle & Hum”)
Blur, “There’s No Other Way”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 31

Note of the night: David Freese arrived in St. Louis with a deserved reputation for opposite-field power. It’s where he likes to hit, and it’s where he usually does his best hitting. In the early going in 2010, it’s where he was hitting.

But this is the Major Leagues, and when a player has success doing one particular thing, opponents will adjust. Pitchers began to see that Freese was hitting the ball hard to right field, so they started challenging him inside.
He has responded, and quite nicely.
On Monday, Freese doubled to left and drilled a hard liner to the track in left. It’s part of a continuing pattern lately, as he’s pulled the ball more. He’s not looking to do it, but he’s willing to do it.
“Some teams are trying to come in a little more, but that’s just the kind of adjustment I have to make,” he said. “If they’re going to come in, I’ve got to start pulling the ball. that’s how it’s got to go.
“You’ve still got to have an approach. When you start seeing teams over and over again, you’ve got to have a pretty good game plan.”
His willingness to be adaptable has caught his manager’s eye too.
“One reason he’s got a chance to be really tough is he uses [all fields],” TLR said. “You pitch him one way he goes that way. You may get him in there once, but you go back away he goes away. He is legit.”
Stat of the day, 1: As of 9 p.m. CT on Monday night, the Cardinals have the best run differential in the National League at plus-51.
Stat of the day, 2: St. Louis ranks third in the National League in walks with 195, and second in doubles with 105.
Fun with double situational splits: In home games in May, Freese batted .375 with a .434 on-base percentage and a .646 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
New Order, “Round and Round”
Soul Coughing, “White Girl”
Stone Roses, “This Is The One”
Garbage, “Push It”
Radiohead, “Let Down”
-M.

Sunday Warm-Up tidbits: Schumaker, Holliday, Freese, Rasmus

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

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”
-M.

Thursday tidbits: Pujols, Molina, DeRosa, Freese

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

It’s finally the end of the road trip. Headed home tonight, and tomorrow actually brings me an off day as I celebrate turning 35.

* Albert Pujols wasn’t feeling good last night or this morning, so the initial lineup did not include him. But Pujols took a nap and took some medicine — I actually saw him snoozing in the clubhouse — and by game time he was OK.

“I wanted to be out there for Carp,” Pujols said after the game. “But if I would have known that he was going to carry our offense like this, I would have stayed on the bench.”

* Yadier Molina didn’t seem at all concerned about his leg tightening up in the fifth inning on Thursday. The early innings moved very slowly, and it was fairly cool. He and TLR both said they expect him to play tomorrow night.

* Mark DeRosa just got a scheduled day out of the lineup. Day after night, and a chance for Glaus to get some ABs.

Today’s playlist has an obvious theme:
Postal Service, “Such Great Heights”
Jimmy Buffett, “Come Monday”
Simon and Garfunkel, “Homeward Bound”
Dave Dudley, “Six Days On the Road”
Rolling Stones, “Moonlight Mile”

-M.

Tuesday late-night tidbits

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Greetings from Cincinnati, where the long road trip is almost over. Most of the newsy stuff, I covered over at the main site, so head over there for updates on Troy Glaus (here, available), Brendan Ryan (could play Wednesday) and Yadier Molina (could play before the series is out).

* The St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame announced its first class of inductees on Tuesday, and unsurprisingly there are a few Cardinals. Stan Musial, Jack Buck, Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith are all in the first class, and Musial was the only unanimous selection from any sport. An “old-timers class” will also include Rogers Hornsby, Frankie Frisch and Joe Medwick. The hall also announced that its inaugural “Sports Performer of the Year” award will go to Albert Pujols for his 2008 MVP campaign.

* TLR said on Tuesday afternoon that he doesn’t intend to back off his starting pitchers at all over the final few days. He feels they’re all in good shape and in most cases they’ve been able to get an extra day here and there. He also revealed what was not a secret at all, that Pineiro will in fact go in Game 3. The only question is Game 4, with Carpenter and Wainwright already lined up for 1-2.

* Had a couple of firsts on Tuesday night: David Freese’s first big-league homer (and it was smoked) and Matt Pagnozzi’s first big league game. By the way, if you want to follow Pagnozzi on Twitter, he’s at @MattPagnozzi. Other tweeting Cardinals include @BlakeHawksworth and @Todalion, though the latter (Todd Wellemeyer) doesn’t appear to tweet anymore.

To honor the club’s time on the road (I was fortunate enough to go home for 20 hours, which was nice), here’s an on-the-road playlist…

Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again”
Black Crowes, “Wiser Time”
Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Metallica, “Wherever I May Roam”

-M.

Friday evening tidbits: Lohse, Mateo, Ryan, Glaus, Freese, more

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

It’s a very busy night for tidbits, so fortunately I have some new music as I write. The new Pearl Jam album is streaming online now, and you can go check it out yourself. On top of that, I picked up the new Living Colour album this afternoon.

Anyway, on with, you know, the baseball…

* Kyle Lohse threw a bullpen session today and is expected to pitch sometime in the Houston series. It would almost certainly be Monday or Tuesday. If they wait until Wednesday, someone else would need to be slotted in to take the Tuesday start, since a fifth starter will be required them.

* ESPN.com reported today that Wagner Mateo “is having vision problems that may affect his contract status” with the Cardinals. I spoke with John Mozeliak today, and while he didn’t go into much detail regarding Mateo, he acknowledged that there is a medical concern with Mateo.

“There are some things medically that we’re looking at,” Mozeliak said. “We’re hopeful that in the next few weeks we can have everything settled.”

* Brendan Ryan was back in the lineup today after missing some time due to a finger injury.

“He’s playable,” TLR said. “I don’t know if he’s got a little soreness left, probably, but a lot of guys have soreness here in September. So he’s playable.”

* Twitter founder Jack Dorsey (aka @jack) visited the park today and threw out a ceremonial first pitch. I’ll have a little more on this shortly.

* Troy Glaus’ status remains uncertain as he attempts to recuperate from a strained left oblique. TLR had this to say regarding Glaus:

“I think there’s a big question mark next to him. But there’s definitely not an X next to him.”

He also said that it’s possible that Glaus’ situation might increase the chances of a David Freese promotion. Last week, TLR downplayed the likelihood of Freese being called up.

* Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick were both back in the lineup after being hit by pitches in the ninth inning on Sunday.

* TLR re-affirmed today that he expects to go with 14 hitters and 11 pitchers on the postseason roster.

Today’s playlist is in honor of the new Living Colour album. And it’s… some old Living Colour.

“Middle Man”
“Time’s Up”
“Elvis is Dead”
“Auslander”
“Sacred Ground”

-M.

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