Matheny's quick hitters – Tuesday, April 8

Summarizing St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny's comments before his club's second home game of 2014.

Pre-game

On Lance Lynn: A younger pitcher than many give him credit for being. Still developing.

On Peter Bourjos: Haven't seen all his speed yet. An elite runner.

On rundown success: "We worked a lot on it (in spring training)."

On Kolten Wong: Did a lot of little things well (in the opener). Positioning. Showing instincts, getting proactive. Things most would not notice.

On internal dissension over the use of the shift: There was never mass dissension. Matheny was not sold on it either before getting more information. ‘When Wong fielded that ball in short right (on Monday), one pitcher said, "I love that shift."'

On NL Central Division: It will be exactly what it has been – a tough fight.

On Milwaukee's sweep in Boston: "I wish we had done that last October."

On Wong being moved in the lineup: He is going about it in a consistent way. His at-bats are the same wherever he is in the order. Consistent short stroke.

On Carlos Martinez: Keeping eye on pitch counts. Communications important to establish trust with pitchers. Heard a few comments from upper deck at one stop (regarding Twitter issue), but home crowd acts as you would expect.

On Jason Motte: Followed up earlier extended spring game with a sim game of 15-19 pitches. Triple-A caliber hitters in Florida like Chris Swauger. No hits allowed, just popups, fly out. Arm feels good. Pitches have life. Likely low-90s, not blowing anyone away. Mid-May return is what he has in his head, but they are not putting any timetable on it. Doesn't know when/if he would pitch in A-Advanced game for Palm Beach.

On NL Championship Rings (to be given out before the game): This one he will wear. Other ones (as a player) are kept in a special place but this one he wants everyone to see and know how important it is.

Post-game

On game overall: Resilient effort. Missed opportunities, especially runners in scoring position late, but kept going, kept fighting.

On Lynn's higher than average run support: Can answer why he gets run production. Does grind. Hard to explain. Some guys have knack for being in right place when runs are scored.

On Lynn's first-inning problems: Doesn't want Lynn to go there. Tries to establish pitches and does better later. Need to get him sharper out of the gate.

On Matt Holliday's hit, a two-run double in the sixth: It was timely. Amazing how ball jumps off his bat.

On Molina: He does not shy away from big situations.

On Molina moving up in lineup: Thinks about lineup every day, but does not want to make too many changes.

On slumping Allen Craig: Still not far (from being himself). Still wants it bad, which may not be in his favor.

On Kolten Wong: Good jumps, instincts on bases. Entire defense playing well.

On Carlos Martinez: Making good pitches. Comes out ready. Looked exceptionally good. Hope doesn't have to use him every day. Good to give Siegrist a day off.

On Randy Choate: Did a terrific job in a right-handed hitting part of the lineup.

On Matt Adams' defense: Not improved. Though he was good last year, too. Moves exceptionally well. Want him to be more aggressive on bunts and throws. Has that potential.

On Peter Bourjos: He is a spark plug at bottom of order to go with other spark plugs on top. His speed puts extra pressure on the defense. If he was pressing during slump, he is human. That is what we would all do. Now he is ready to play, not to make first impression.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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