Results tagged ‘ Skip Schumaker ’

Wednesday camp tidbits: That was… oddly normal

Greetings from Jupiter, where the locals are complaining about the chill, thanks to overnight temps below 50 and highs in the mid-60s. Rest assured, your correspondent is NOT among those complaining.

It was the last relatively quiet day on the field, with players going through informal workouts. Tomorrow brings the first structured pitchers-and-catchers workout. For those of you coming out to watch, don’t expect to see anything before about 10:30 a.m. ET. Usually, workouts start in the 9 o’clock hour, but pitchers and catchers undergo physicals tomorrow morning before the work starts.
Anyway, on with the tidbits.
* The most heavily-reported story today, of course, was Mark McGwire’s arrival. I know many of you are tired of it, and honestly, I’ll be happy myself when I’m writing more about position battles and less about what the hitting coach did 12 years ago.
With that said, though, I do believe that there were still legitimate, fair and relevant questions that had yet to be asked and answered. And quite a few of them were asked, and answered, this afternoon.
I have a full story on this on the site today, so if you’re interested, please do go check it out. In addition to that, a couple of things.
First, personally, I was impressed with McGwire today. He was relaxed, at ease, thoughtful. He answered every question, mostly of them with some depth and thoroughness. It was exactly the kind of session that should have happened a month ago at the Hyatt, but instead that day turned into largely a matter of who could shout the loudest.
He talked not only about steroids but coaching. I’m sure that in some corners, it still won’t be enough, but for me, I feel like I’ve had my opportunity, asked the questions I felt needed to be asked (or someone else asked them while I was there) and gotten the answers I’m going to get. For me, personally, I’m ready to be asking McGwire about baseball when I interview him at all.
Second, there was one quote that I didn’t get in the story that I thought was relevant. McGwire was asked about a topic he’s mentioned before: whether, when and how he plans to follow up on his stated desire to educate and warn kids about steroids. Here was his response:
“I do that stuff privately. I’ve always done charitable stuff privately and talked to people privately. That’s the thing about me. I’ve never wanted to do anything just to have a camera in my face and say, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ I think doing private things is really good. I’ve done it basically my whole life.
“When you see a kid smile and they really appreciate when you say things, don’t follow in my footsteps of what I’ve done, steroids and performance-enhancing stuff is terrible for anybody to even think about doing it. I was wrong. I’m so very sorry. I don’t know how many times I’m going to say that, but I am. I truly am.”
* As the last day before full p-and-c workouts begin, today was fairly sparsely attended by big-name veterans. Chris Carpenter made a cameo, for example, but Adam Wainwright was not seen. As of tomorrow, they’re on the clock. So even guys who have been working out down here are happy to take the day. 
* One guy notable by his presence is Skip Schumaker. He was not only present but out on the field, working out and hitting in the cage with McGwire. It’s possible that I missed someone, but by my count, Schumaker was the only infielder or outfielder with a secure job who is not coming back from injury who got out on the field today. Most of the other non-catcher hitters who are here are guys like Joe Mather, Nick Stavinoha (who is catching some) and David Freese.
* As I tweeted yesterday, Mike Matheny is down once again to help out the coaching staff. Matheny said his tenure in Florida is open-ended, but don’t read too much into that. Matheny is still likely a good ways away from a coaching job — being a dad is definitely still his top priority.
* Ryan Ludwick arrived by town car late this afternoon, after nearly everyone was gone. Another impressively early arrival.
Today’s playlist:
Rhett Miller, “I Want to Live”
Lucero, “Sixes and Sevens”
The Hold Steady, “Sequestered in Memphis”
Drive-By Truckers, “Three Dimes Down”
The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”

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

Matthew Leach

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”

Division Series Game 1 tidbits: Schumaker, Rasmus, Ankiel, Boggs, Hawksworth

Greetings from gorgeous Dodger Stadium. It’s an absolutely perfect night at the ballpark, dusk just settling in. Had some fantastic Cuban food for lunch (Versailles, on Venice — highly recommended) and now we’re settling in for a ballgame. Life is good.

* Despite some speculation to the contrary, TLR went with Skip Schumaker at second base and Colby Rasmus in center field tonight against Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf. It’s the team’s best defensive lineup, rather than having Lugo at second base.

Here’s La Russa on the two calls:

“It really came down to Colby or Rick in center. And I think Colby earned the start. Rick’s close. We have a good team, [so] we have a choice to make. And at second, we’ve gone with Lugo a lot against left-handers and I would expect maybe tomorrow [he’ll play]; we’ll see how today goes.  I felt like Schu was a good matchup for Wolf, and Julio has struggled against Wolf. In fact, quite a few of our guys have.”

For what it’s worth, Lugo is 1-for-8 against Wolf and Schumaker is 0-for-3. Rasmus is 3-for-5, which may be the real key to the equation in TLR’s mind. One other thing: I think there’s at least a perception that Wolf is not a lefty-killer in the same way that Kershaw is. However, Wolf has a much bigger split this year than Kershaw, and is absolutely obliterating left-handed hitters.

Still, personally, I like the lineup. I’ve already gone on record saying that in the playoffs, I think the defensive downgrade to Lugo isn’t worth whatever offensive edge you may get against a LHP. We’ll see.

* Also within the outfield mix, of course, is Rick Ankiel. TLR was asked in his pregame news conference today about Ankiel’s pinch-hitting success, and he acknowledged that it factors into his decision making. It’s only 26 plate appearances, but Ankiel is batting .273 with a .385 OBP and .591 SLG as a pinch-hitter this year.

* Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth secured the last two spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen when the roster was announced today. The manager’s answer when asked about the decisions was, I thought, revealing. He basically indicated that Hawksworth was all but automatic, and Boggs was the one guy who was maybe a close call.

“I don’t know who you would define as the last two,” he said when asked about the decision on the final two roster spots. I think Boggs is probably one of the two, I’m not sure who the other one would be. … And as far as the other one, we really had a tough call.  We’d have had a really tough call to go 11, because Hawksworth has done a good job, McClellan and Motte been part of what we do. So really going to 12 pitchers made us not to have to make a decision on Boggs versus one of the other young guys.”

Tonight’s playlist certainly suits where I am mentally, and I hope all of y’all are too. It’s let’s-get-it-going music. If you think some of it is cheesy, well, sorry.

U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Rolling Stones, “Start Me Up”
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”


Monday tidbits: Schumaker, Glaus, Cooper, Pineiro

Matthew Leach

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

It’s definitely still summer down here in Houston. Warm and muggy today, and the roof is closed at Minute Maid Park.

* Skip Schumaker started in center field against LHP Wandy Rodriguez, with Brendan Ryan and Julio Lugo as the double-play combination. That’s because Rick Ankiel and Colby Rasmus were a combined 0-for-16 against Rodriguez, while Schumaker entered the night with three hits off of him.

* Troy Glaus is not on the trip as he continues to try to return from a strained left oblique.

* TLR had this to say regarding the firing of Cecil Cooper: “Look at the games we’ve played. He’s always had his club ready to play us tough. … There wasn’t anything he did in the games against us that made me think he wasn’t on top of it.”

* Joel Pineiro said that in his last start, he was striding too far in the first inning, and he corrected it, leading to his success in the rest of the game.

No playlist tonight, this thing is already too late getting posted.


Thursday afternoon tidbits: Lohse, lineup, Wallace, Jones

We’ve actually got a little bit of sunshine at Citi Field. So, you know, that’s nice. Really looking forward to this game; matchups like this never get old.

* Kyle Lohse’s schedule has changed a bit. Rather than a bullpen today and a sim. game on Saturday, he skipped throwing today and will bump the sim. game up to Friday. That prevents having to have the sim at something like 9 am after a night game, and it doesn’t affect the number of starts Lohse will be able to get before the All-Star break. Either way, there’s time for a rehab and two starts.

* The lineup is a curious one today, I know — saw the comments when I posted it. One thing to note is that Santana has a large reverse platoon split (LH hitters have an OPS about 200 points higher than RH’ers do). Here’s TLR’s uncut answer when I asked him this morning:

“It’s just mixing up the lineup so it’s right-left-right as much as I could. I wanted to play some left-handers. I wanted to put the best defense out there. So I put a lot of things together and you get a right, left, right, right, right, then left-right-left-right. And Schu hits well against this club, so…

“That’s the reason I do that.”

Doesn’t explain it all, but gives you at least some insight. Schumaker in the 2 spot against a LHP is actually kind of an interesting idea. Not sure what to make of it, but I’m curious to see how it works.

* Brett Wallace and Daryl Jones are the Cardinals’ representatives on the rosters for the Futures Game, July 12 at Busch Stadium.

Today’s playlist, once again all culled from having the iPod on shuffle as I rode the 7 train out from Manhattan this morning:
Soul Asylum, “Get On Out”
Beastie Boys, “Lighten Up”
Black Crowes, “P.25 London”
Counting Crows, “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues”
Kay Hanley, “Happy to Be Here”


Tuesday afternoon tidbits: Skip sits

Very strange sight here — gray skies over downtown San Diego. I don’t think the game is in any jeopardy, but it’s definitely a bit jarring. Anyway, here are this afternoon’s tidbits:

* The starting outfield is Duncan LF, Ludwick CF, Barton RF. H’s going with a mostly righty-heavy lineup because Maddux has a pronounced reverse split this year. Also, Schumaker is dealing with a minor left heel problem. He insists it’s nothing.

* Ankiel is again not playing; TLR said probably the weekend for him.

* I saw some speculation in places about Carpenter. According to Barry Weinberg (via Brian Bartow), Carp threw a bullpen yesterday and felt good, and will throw a sim game on Monday (i.e., 6 days from now).

* Ryker Kile, Darryl Kile’s son, paid a visit to the park today and particularly sought out Pujols, who was of course glad to welcome him.

* STL lineup: Barton RF, Duncan LF, Pujols 1B, Ludwick CF, Glaus 3B, Molina C, Kennedy 2B, Pineiro P, Izturis SS.

* SD lineup: Gerut CF, Iguchi 2B, Giles RF, Gonzalez 1B, Kouzmanoff 3B, Greene SS, Hairston LF, Carlin C, Maddux P.


Tuesday afternoon tidbits: Mulder's clock could start soon

Greetings from Houston, where it’s warm, humid and hazy, and where the music is good but loud (Shiny Toy Guns, very nice).

* Mark Mulder will throw another extended spring training game tomorrow, and after that, he could begin a proper rehabilitation assignment with the next game after that. So that would be Monday, April 14, and from there he’d have a 30-day rehab clock.

* Skip Schumaker is back in the lineup and leading off, as expected.

* Jason LaRue is in at catcher, as Molina gets a day off — TLR just said “it’s a good game for LaRue to play.” LaRue and Thompson have seemed to work well together in spring and in Thompson’s first start, so that’s very likely the main factor. Both guys are 1-for-4 vs Chacon.

* STL lineup: Schumaker RF, Duncan LF, Pujols 1B, Ankiel CF, Glaus 3B, Kennedy 2B, LaRue C, Thompson P, Izturis SS

* HOU lineup: Bourn CF, Pence RF, Berkman 1B, Lee LF, Tejada SS, Blum 3B, Loretta 2B, Towles C, Chacon P

Tuesday’s playlist:
New Order, “Sub-Culture”
Chemical Brothers, “The Private Psychedelic Reel”
Duran Duran, “Careless Memories”
Nirvana, “Heart Shaped Box”
Depeche Mode, “Barrel of a Gun”