When John Gant appeared at the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm-Up last month, the pitcher looked more like he was auditioning for a role in Jesus Christ Superstar than the 25-man roster. But as pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training this afternoon, the right-hander looked like a different person.
“Gone, hacked it off,” smiled Gant, who after growing it out for close to two years had about 10 inches cut off his mane. “Went right across the street to Junior’s Barbershop. Walked in full flow, came out looking like this.”
So why the change?
“Getting a little hot outside,” explained Gant. “Starting to get in my mouth a little bit when I played catch and pitch. I don’t really need that. Look a little cleaner, feel a little cooler.”
We’ve heard about the power or mojo a beard can provide–what about the long hair?
“I don’t think so–if you’re mojo’s in your hair, you’ve got something else going on,” stated Gant. “Are you familiar with the story of Samson?”
Gant may not be looking to slay any lions with his bare hands, but he is hoping to find his way to a larger role with the Cardinals. He pitched in seven games with St. Louis last season, one relief appearance in June and then as a September call-up. All total, Gant threw 17.1 innings–which included starting his final two outings.
“I like to start but I enjoy coming out of the pen, too,” said Gant at the Warm-Up. “I’m cool with either one. I just want to help the team and play some baseball.”
At Memphis (AAA), Gant started all 18 of the games he appeared in and compiled a record of 6-5 with a 3.83 ERA. He struck out 99 hitters in 103.1 innings pitched. He spent the off-season in Georgia and Tampa, working to add some weight to his 6’3 frame.
“Get a little strong, get a little sturdier,” he shared.
And now he’s a little “faster” too as he joked with Adam Wainwright.
–Unofficially, all of the St. Louis Cardinals pitchers and catchers invited to Spring Training reported to camp today. The batter mates will have their first scheduled workouts tomorrow morning.
–Congrats to Greg Garcia, as he and his wife will be welcoming a baby girl in June.
–Luke Weaver, who is sporting #7 this season, shared that’s the number he wore in high school and in college. The number doesn’t have any special significance, Weaver shared it was more a case of the bigger jerseys had the double numbers so that’s why he wore single digits. But, he also pointed out that 7 “looks like an upside down L”.
About that time… pic.twitter.com/1WlsKhc0Gs
— Luke Weaver (@DreamWeava7) February 13, 2018
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com