It was only the first official day of Spring Training, but St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny seemed to know the question was coming–no, not about who will make the starting rotation or how the competition in centerfield will play out. But rather, what’s the plan for Yadier Molina??
“It’s a favorite topic for everybody,” Matheny began with a wry smile. “You have a guy who is an MVP-caliber player and you’re constantly trying to figure out—yeah, we do want to keep him on the field but you’re balancing how he feels. When he feels good and we know he’s going to give us a better chance when we get him out there, it’s hard. It is hard—not just for me, but for him too to sit back and try and store up for October when we need to win today.
“With that being said, we’re going to continue to try and be smart—but there’s no plan in place any different from what we had last year. There’s going to be people that don’t like it and that’s what we’re just going to have to deal with. But right now, we’re going to go on how he feels. And if he feels that he can play and his play is showing that he’s good to go, we’re going to go.
“That changes over time and this year could be the year where it’s a little different—but hopefully he stays healthy and you guys are all over me about how much I’m playing him. That’s going to be a good thing.”
Oscar Taveras continued to some light running on Thursday and will continue to participate in drills as he ramps up for the arrival of the rest of the position players and full workouts.
“From a baseball standpoint, he’s 100% cleared–from a running standpoint, we just want to be smart and patient,” stated General Manager John Mozeliak. “You will see him running. He will be pushing himself, but you may see some of maybe the range type drills in the outfield his a little bit shorter. But we don’t open tomorrow so there’s no reason to try to push him as if we were. We have six weeks and he needs to take advantage of those six weeks, but where he is physically is very encouraging.”
Taveras had ankle surgery last August after playing in only 46 games at Memphis (AAA) due to a high sprain.
Former Cards closer Jason Isringhausen arrived in camp late this afternoon. Izzy is one of a few guest instructors who will be visiting soon as Jim Edmonds is expected to arrive next week. Willie McGee, a special assistant to Mozeliak, will again work with the team and fellow special assistant Cal Eldred is already helping out.