WHEELER: Notes From Jupiter: Position Players Start Up, Rain Continues
St. Louis Cardinals
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The Cardinals are dealing with the 2nd straight day of rain today and while it’s not as bad as yesterday, at least not yet, it will impact what the Cardinals are able to do. The fields are still very wet so there will be no fielding work done and all batting practice will take place in the covered cages. The pitchers will be able to throw bullpens outside on the mound today, which didn’t happen yesterday, and they’ll still be able to throw long toss assuming the weather holds, which is iffy.
Here are some notes heading into today’s workout, whatever form it takes…
* Carlos Beltran said he’s feeling good, has no physical issues at the moment and is excited about the new season. When asked about taking days off during the season to prevent small problems from turning into larger ones, Beltran acknowledged that it is tough for a competitor to accept but he understands it is necessary from sometimes.
As a matter of fact, Mike Matheny offered this morning that there’s a plan in place for Beltran to spend a lot of time with Taveras over the course of Spring Training
Beltran also said he has taken note of Oscar Taveras in the past and that he is always willing to help young players, even ones that might be pushing to take playing time away from him, because he is confident in his own abilities and it is the right thing to do.
I’ll have some audio from Carlos Beltran tonight during Sports Open Line, most likely in the latter part of the 6:00 hour. We go from 6:00-7:30 in the lead-up to the Blues-Flames game on KMOX.
* Speaking of Taveras, he was in the clubhouse this morning and while his locker is on the minor league side of the room he certainly fits in physically with a lot of the guys on the Major League side of the clubhouse. He will be one of the most interesting players to watch this spring and whether he makes the team or not it’s pretty obvious that he fits into the plans for the not-too-distant future.
* Another prospect that will get a good bit of attention here in Jupiter is second baseman Kolten Wong. I talked to him a bit this morning, and you’ll probably hear that during Sports Open Line tonight, and he says he learned a lot about being a pro and handling the grinding schedule last season. Wong talked about learning how to handle more advanced pitchers to keeping himself strong through a long season. The Cardinals have a lot of options at second base but eventually Wong may present the best combination of skills. He’s a good defender (who says he’s working to get even better in that regard), he has good on-base skills, he runs the bases well and has a little pop in his bat too. Wong isn’t a tall guy, obviously, but he has a strong build kind of along the lines of Jon Jay.
* Rafael Furcal is one of the players who will be watched closely here in Jupiter, by those of us in the media and by the team, because he is so important to the team. A healthy Furcal provides the Cardinals with their best defensive option along with some offense and some speed. He is going to be eased into things, just like last year, so don’t expect much of significance about his elbow for a while.
I may have a note or two to pass along over the weekend but I’ll be back with the regular update on Monday…enjoy the weekend and don’t forget to tune in to Sports Open Line tonight. You’ll hear from Carlos Beltran and Kolten Wong for sure, with a few others potentially on tap depending on how things go after today’s workout.