The Cardinal Nation blog

Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals pitchers helping pitchers

Sometimes, the little things can make a big deal down the road.

In the past, the members of the St. Louis Cardinals pitching rotation were known for being unusually involved in studying each others’ bullpen sessions as well as mound outings and sharing suggestions – coaching from one veteran peer to another.

In a most logical and encouraging manner, new manager Mike Matheny has extended this concept in spring training 2012 to include pitching prospects invited to big-league camp as well.

As explained by the Post-Dispatch’s Rick Hummel, workouts are being organized in such a way that the staff’s veteran hurlers will be working alongside the organization’s top young pitchers. This is the case both for bullpen sessions and batting practice groups.

Whether information is imparted directly from the teacher to the student through question and answer or just by watching, this new initiative is both simple and brilliant, with no apparent downside whatsoever.

An example of these new-look groups on Sunday, from another P-D article, were as follows:

Chris Carpenter, Lance Lynn, Tyrell Jenkins and Joe Kelly

Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Trevor Rosenthal and Jordan Swagerty

Jaime Garcia, Brandon Dickson, Sam Freeman and John Gast (the latter two, like Garcia, are lefties)

Jake Westbrook, Kyle McClellan and Fernando Salas

Not coincidentally, the above 15 represent exactly half of the 30 hurlers invited to major league camp. Kyle Lohse was the only member of the five-man rotation not scheduled to throw on Sunday.

Update: …and here are the four Monday groups, again from the P-D:

Kyle Lohse, Kevin Siegrist, Adam Reifer, Maikel Cleto

Jason Motte (see photo), Adam Ottavino, Chuckie Fick, R.J. Swindle

Mitchell Boggs, Scott Linebrink, Eduardo Sanchez

Marc Rzepczynski, J.C. Romero, Victor Marte, Nick Greenwood

Kudos to Matheny for suggesting the idea and to the veterans for accepting it. Here’s hoping the youngsters take full advantage.

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11 Responses to “Cardinals pitchers helping pitchers”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    I read elsewhere the Astros are moving Carlos Lee to 1B. Lee would be terrible defensively in LF, so its good to minimize the damage by planting him at 1B. This explains Stavinoha jumping to Japan. Luhnow must have told Nick he would not get a chance to play 1B for the Strohs.
    Meanwhile Brett Wallace has to move back to 3B, to earn any playing time. He could find himself relearning 3B at AAA.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Lee has already played in LF for five years, so they know what he can and cannot do. Getting him on first is a good move for that team overall. That has nothing to do with Stavinoha, who went to Japan for more guaranteed money. He would have been lucky to make the Astros bench. He isn’t a starter at the MLB level, even for Houston.

  2. crdswmn says:

    Too bad TLR didn’t use this technique, but I hear he wasn’t a fan of classes mixing.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Anything can happen during spring training. Its just training.
      TLR did not like junior guys on the ML roster to get above themselves. He likes players to earn their dues and work their way up the ladder, by performance and good behavior.
      Consistent with this, TLR would call out vets and demand more of them, because they are not junior plebes and nubs. Instances of TLR challenging vets publicly, not always fairly, have included Scott Rolen, Preston Wilson, and Juan Encarnacion.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Yeah that evil TLR guy.Shame on him for being the skipper for all those winning seasons and 3 World Series and 2 Championships.Darn that TLR.

  4. blingboy says:

    Guys like Jaime, Motte and Boggs would benefit more from being the underlings in an experienced vet’s group. They aren’t going to gain anything grouped with plebes and nubs, as Jumbo would call them.

    When the batting groups are set up, will Greene be a vet or a nub? What about Descalso? OK, what about Chambers? He’s got a ring after all.

  5. CariocaCardinal says:

    Matheny put the lefties in groups as well. I wonder if that is a change as well.

  6. Nutlaw says:

    The plan makes sense to me. I like it!

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