(Jupiter, FL) Last year while Ozzie Smith worked with players at Spring Training, he suggested to keep an eye out for Randal Grichuk–who before injury knocked him out of contention was in the conversation for Rookie of the Year and is being looked to as a big piece of the puzzle for 2016.
“I guess that means I can be a scout,” laughed Ozzie at his projection. “No, it doesn’t take much to see who has upsides and who doesn’t. Certainly watching him, you can just tell the only that keeps him from being a great player is health.
“If he stays healthy, well then there’s no reason why he can’t put up monster numbers because I think from the time he played it was very evident that he has what it takes to be a good big leaguer. Here again, he’s got to stay healthy.”
Grichuk has already revised his weight training routine to eliminate squatting, but lifting is still an important part of his routine. Smith understands as starting out as a rookie, he was listed at just 150lbs but was able to add more muscle over the course of his career.
“I think it’s what happened over the years with lifting weights because for a long time it was taboo to lift weights in baseball,” explained Ozzie. “I think what happened, you probably had football people trying to teach how to lift weights. As a baseball player, the lift is totally different. The lift, I think, has to be with stretching in mind–elongating the muscle rather than bulking the muscle up. Training now has gotten a lot better. I think guys have a better understanding of what it takes now to incorporate weight lifting into the game.”
As for who the Hall of Famer is keeping an eye on this year–Grichuk’s roommate.
“It’ll be interesting to see how Piscotty bounces back from the great half a year he put together,” said Smith. “I think those two guys are very exciting players–both have great upsides. Again, staying healthy. If those two guys stay healthy, I think things work better for this ball club. Same thing with the pitching. You get pitching and the way that these guys can play, then it should be a good year.”
Besides baseball, Smith remains the President of the Gateway Chapter of the PGA, and is currently involved in a campaign to raise funds to build a nine-hole, multi-recreational golf facility across from the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club on the old site of Sportsman’s Park.
“It’s creating an environment for kids that will expose them not only to the game of golf, but to the business of golf. So that’s my big project right now.”
In the meantime, Ozzie will spend the next week in Spring Training with the Cardinals.