(Busch Stadium) After being recalled on Sunday, Stephen Piscotty was happy to be back in the St. Louis Cardinals home clubhouse and explained the difference between now and the last time we saw him here.
“Just feel a little bit clearer,” he said before the game. “Tried to simplify some things, get back to basics. I feel really good about that. Had some good games in Memphis that felt like my old self coming out, so felt really good.”
Batting seventh and playing right field, Piscotty hit a single and home run, plus drew a walk and struck out as the Cardinals fell 12-4 to San Diego.
His success at the plate was display of that simplification he worked on at Memphis–staying shorter in his swing, with not as big of a leg kick or loading his hands too much. The focus was on staying quiet and making good decisions at the plate.
“He looks right,” stated Mike Matheny postgame. “It’s the first time this season I’ve really seen the ball jump for him in that direction and it really jumped. I know he was working on that when he went to Memphis, came back with a game plan–even in his batting practice, the ball’s just jumping for him a little bit more.”
In his eight games with Memphis, Piscotty hit .313 (10-32) with four home runs and seven runs driven in.
“Just tried to make it a positive experience,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a little bit of bummer to have to go through but it was something I needed so I was trying to be optimistic about the opportunity to get some at-bats and play. I feel like I made the most of that opportunity so looking back on it, I feel really good about it.”
Positive as he may have been–and even though Mike Matheny shared his departing message was for Stephen to get right because the Cardinals needed him, that emptied locker offered no promise of a timetable or even guaranteed return.
“You never know,” acknowledged Piscotty. “They didn’t give me a set time or anything. I just knew I needed to get right, so I wasn’t really focused on when I was getting back, it was more just getting right. Thankfully, I was able to do it pretty quick, I felt like.”
So does he feel like he’s finally turned the corner?
“I think it’s just part of the season and it’s been one of those where it’s up and down, up and down,” said Piscotty. “I don’t have a great answer for that question–all I know is I’m trying to finish strong. That’s all I’m trying to do. I think the week and half in Memphis was something I really needed and I’m glad I did it. Was able to come out of that a little bit clearer-minded and just gonna try and roll with that.”
Matheny started Piscotty on Sunday and again tonight, but the manager made it clear that moving forward the team will continue to look at the matchups–and who might need a day off as they try to fit five outfielders into three spots.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports