The Cards’ last spring training game today was a doozy and to make things even better, it was against the Yankees. There were home runs a-plenty – 2 by Stephen Piscotty, 1 by Tommy Pham, 1 by Jeremy Hazelbaker and 1 by Brandon Moss. Hopefully, the hitting slump is over and the team meetings the other day did the trick in getting the guys motivated.
Let’s hope the Birds will have some of today’s firepower in Pittsburgh on Sunday, despite the fact that the high temperature this Sunday in Pittsburgh is supposed to only be 39 degrees – and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. I’ve attended games in early October in St. Louis in those kinds of temperatures and I feel sorry for those poor fans who will be shivering in the stands. When MLB assembles the schedule for next season, they should ensure that no games are played in the Northeast, the upper Midwest and Toronto in the first part of April, since there is still the possibility of cold weather and even snow. Unless, of course, the games are scheduled in Milwaukee and Toronto, since those stadiums have roofs. In contrast, the high temperature in St. Louis this Sunday will be 68 degrees. That’s a perfect temperature for a ball game – not too hot and not too cold.
I was so hoping that the Cards would leave spring training without a major injury. Unfortunately, Jhonny Peralta tore the same ligament on his thumb that Yadier Molina did during the playoffs last year. Jhonny will be out at least until June. Peralta’s injury led to the signing of Ruben Tejada. However, Ruben left today’s game with a left quad strain. Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has been hot during spring training, is going north with the team due to Tejada’s injury. Mitch Harris will start the season on the disabled list with compression syndrome. And Jordan Walden, who looked like he would be good to go up until Wednesday, is now on the DL with shoulder issues. Walden’s injury led to an opening on the roster for Rule 5 player Matt Bowman, who pitched in today’s game.
But the most devastating injury out of spring training was not to a player. Third base coach Jose “Secret Weapon” Oquendo is out for the season due to a knee replacement surgery that went awry and had to be repeated. The Cardinals offered to let Oquendo do some coaching from the bench, but he said if he couldn’t do the job he was hired to do that he didn’t want to be there at all. Jose’s absence will be a great loss for the team, since not only does Jose work with the Spanish-speaking players, he works with the other players on base running. First base coach Chris Maloney has moved over to third base to replace Jose and Bill Mueller has moved to first base. Time will tell how much Jose’s absence will affect the team.
The Cards have two days off before Opening Day on Sunday. I’m ready for regular season baseball, aren’t you? I’m ready to come home from work and know I’m going to be seeing my favorite team playing ball on TV. This Sunday is going to be awesome – church in the morning and then coming home in time to watch the Cards’ opener on TV. Are you ready for some baseball? I know I am!
As always, thanks for reading! See you next time!