ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Mike Matheny says Willie McGee has texted him at times this season to give advice on how to help players like Matt Adams or Randal Grichuk. The St. Louis Cardinals manager says it’s advice that he has requested and plans to keep using McGee’s ‘great baseball mind’ as much as possible.
McGee was in uniform with the team at Busch Stadium, before St. Louis hosts the Toronto Blue Jays at 7:15 p.m., Tuesday. He started behind the batting cage, talking to Grichuk and others in the hitting group, then moved to the outfield as players and coaches shagged fly balls.
His mouth was never not moving – there was always a coach or player talking to him.
Matheny says McGee might stay around the team this series, and possibly the entire home stand. McGee is a ‘roving instructor’ for the Cardinals, usually visiting the lower levels of the organization to work with teenagers and 20-somethings.
But Matheny says McGee can be just as helpful with the big-league club.
“Just keep in mind how many young guys we have here and how much work needs to be done,” Matheny says. “And how the guys are asking for it. They want to get better at certain things. And so, lets use a resource like Willie to help us.”
The 1985 NL MVP does seem to still have the mindset of a player, Matheny explains how McGee had the back of Cardinals players like Kolten Wong and Grichuk who fell victim to bad bounces off the edge of the grass in recent games.
“He goes ‘That wasn’t that bad of a play,'” Matheny says. “He’s watching close and that’s what I asked him to do. Anytime you can watch what we are doing.”
McGee won’t be in dugout during games, but Matheny says there is a possibility for McGee to watch games from the video room and give messages to Matheny right after or during the game.
“To me, Willie McGee can go wherever Willie McGee wants to go,” Matheny says. “We’re just really happy to have him. I don’t think I need to tell you that I’m just a really big fan of what he brings to this organization.”
There was the possibility of Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith also joining the team this week, but Matheny says unfortunately Smith’s schedule didn’t work out.