As the first round of players finished up their set of batting practice on Monday, there was a familiar face that joined them in gathering up the scattered baseballs–Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
“It was fun introducing him today and kind of going through the resume,” smiled St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny. “We’ve got work to do. We’ve got things to accomplish to get better and what a resource with having an Ozzie Smith around one, and two these guys (guest instructors) they do want to work. They want to help us get better. And it’s an incredible opportunity and if some of our young guys are afraid to come over and instigate that, then that’s their loss. They need to take advantage of that because that’s why they’re here.”
The Wizard made it easy for anyone who might have been imitated–talking with players around the cage, then jogging to the outfield to initiate a conversation with prospect Mike O’Neill.
Smith is the latest of the St. Louis Cardinals greats to arrive in Spring Training–Jason Isringhausen arrived last week and Jim Edmonds and Willie McGee are also expected to join the action soon. Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter, and Whitey Herzog are also working on their schedules to participate according to Matheny.