It’s a return to the familiar today for Xavier Scruggs as he will be starting at first base for the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers against the Boston Red Sox. Scruggs has spent the large majority of his career at first, but has also shown versatility this spring in manning right field.
“You have to be more patient,” explained Scruggs of the difference between the two spots. “It gives you more time to read the ball. At first base, the corner infield, you’ve got to be quick–reacting. So you get a little bit more time to really just judge the ball, but at the same time there’s balls that are hit just as hard and you have to be quick to the gaps and make a quick decision if you have to dive or what not too.”
Scruggs spent a great deal of time playing outfield this winter in the Dominican League and has played ten of his 57 innings there this spring.
“The more and more I get out there, the more and more comfortable I’m feeling,” said Scruggs of the outfield. “That’s the biggest thing, is kind of watching–even from the bench and from the outfield.
“Just seeing the ball come into the zone and seeing the batter swing, starting to learn that and how to react off that. It’s big for me to continue to watch and stay locked in on the game.”
Scruggs has hit at least 20 home runs in each of his last five professional seasons and made his ML debut last September when he appeared in nine games for the Cardinals.