Reporting Kevin Wheeler
Hello again from sunny Jupiter, FL. Notice I didn’t say “warm.” It’s a little on the cool side this morning (it’s in the low 50′s as I write this but I am NOT complaining…Florida is still Florida!), though by mid-afternoon it should be close to 70 degrees, but the temps really won’t affect media guys like me much. If I’m a little chilled I just put on a jacket…
But for these hitters who haven’t seen much live action since October days like yesterday and today can be horrible. Consider the plight of Jon Jay, Daniel Descalso, Allen Craig, Oscar Taveras and Cody Stanley. They get to face Trevor Rosenthal in live B.P. today. Good morning!
Heck, facing guys like that this early in the spring is challenging when it’s 75-80 degrees. Anyone who has played baseball at any level knows what it’s like to try to hit in the cold. In general, it’s not a lot of fun. It’s hard to get those muscles moving that quickly in the chill.
Again, we’re not talking about Midwest cold today. It’s Florida cold, which is different. You know it’s not really “cold” but because you’ve gotten used to feeling temperatures 20-25 degrees warmer, and because the change is sudden, it feels worse than it is. That’s why all the natives down here break out the sweaters and jackets whenever the temps fall below 70. Think of it this way: it’s 95 degrees on July 4th in St. Louis and you go from the outside into an air conditioned room that’s sitting at 72 degrees. It feels cold, doesn’t it? It’s that contrast that is noticeable, kind of like a pitcher throwing 95 MPH flipping a 72 MPH curveball up there to the hitter. It messes you up.
Enough of that…here are some of today’s pre-workout notes:
* On that live BP note…Mike Matheny told me this morning that while it’s sometimes an uncomfortable situation for hitters, the pitchers need to see hitters in the box as a part of their progression toward game action. The first couple of live BP sessions are more for the pitchers than the hitters, though it’s productive for hitters even if they don’t swing the bat. Tracking pitches, getting a look at velocity, is helpful according to Matheny.
* As for the younger guys, those live BP sessions are great times to show your skills with the Major League coaching staff looking on. Everyone looks great in regular coach-pitch BP but the live BP and at-bats in games can make an impression, even early on.
* Matt Carpenter has worked almost exclusively at second base so far this Spring. Matheny says that’s where he has the most to work on, obviously, but that he’ll also see time at his other positions as Spring Training goes along.
* Regarding Shelby Miller, Matheny noted a difference in his approach this spring. He’s been more open to instruction and the Manager says that’s just a part of a young player growing up. Matheny said guys often learn by making mistakes and that certainly seems to be what we saw with Miller at Triple-A last year. The word early on was that he was happy doing what he always did but when hitters figured that out it took him some time to adjust. In fairness, last season was probably the first time in Shelby’s life that he’d ever struggled for any length of time. Young players have to learn how to deal with that and he seemed like he’d definitely gotten over the hump by the time he showed up in St. Louis late last season.
Follow me on twitter (@KMOXWheeler) for updates and pics throughout the day. I’ll more information this afternoon during Total Information PM plus we’ve got 3-hours of Sports Open Line tonight so we’ll have plenty to talk about then as well, including some Blues talk after their 3-0 road trip. I have 3-4 Cardinals’ guests lined up for the show tonight, with Daniel Descalso and Randy Choate already in the can (I tend to not tease guests until they’re locked in but there will be more), so tune in between 6-9 PM tonight for SOL.