As the Memphis Redbirds open their season tonight there will be several familiar faces in the lineup as six players made appearances with the St. Louis Cardinals last season. Marco Gonzales, who starts tonight, along with Greg Garcia, Nick Greenwood, Tyler Lyons, Xavier Scruggs, and Sam Tuivailala all will be looking forward to another call-up from Triple-A.
Others, like Stephen Piscotty, will be looking for their first chance to advance to the big leagues.
“One thing we’ve seen over time with each year and each level he’s been to–he’s played to the level of the league quickly, both offensively and defensively,” said St. Louis Cardinals Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque of Piscotty. “He comes off of another solid spring. I’m sure he would say too–and we are, looking forward to a good year from him.”
Piscotty hit only .216 (11-51) during the Grapefruit League, but was continuing to work on a new swing designed to provide more power.
“The other thing too is one of his big pluses is his ability to put together quality at-bats,” said LaRocque. “The power and all the discussion regarding it is something that he recognizes the first thing that’s most important is to put together those quality at bats–and he’s been doing that each year. We feel good about what he’s produced offensively and he’ll develop even further as he moves up to the next level and gets acclimated to Major League pitching at some point.”
Garcia battled for a big league roster spot with Dean Anna and Ty Kelly this spring, now all three will share duties in Memphis.
“The great news is we have versatility with actually our infield throughout, we’re very pleased with that,” said LaRocque, adding that manager Mike Shildt will move all three players around their various positions of second base, third base, shortstop, and perhaps even some more outfield.
“If you were there for the entire season, you would see them play in one spot a little bit more than another but it won’t be necessarily by a lot,” said LaRocque. “A lot of it has to take shape. As the season has to unfold, injuries occur, player movement occurs and a lot of that brings on the next step which is what the lineup looks like in Memphis.”
MEMPHIS STARTING LINEUP 4/9
Dean Anna, SS
Ty Kelly, LF
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Scott Moore, 3B
Xavier Scruggs, 1B
Greg Garcia, 2B
Cody Stanley, C
Rafael Ortega, CF
Marco Gonzales, P