Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007 - Day 11 of the St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training. So far so good, as the team took the field under the warm sunny skies in Jupiter, Florida.
Sundays starts like most training days - the players reported at 8:30 a.m., the coaches hold their first meeting of the day at 9:00 a.m., with Tony La Russa holding court in a clubhouse meeting at 9:30 a.m. that sometimes lasts as long as the four seconds it takes him to walk through it to his office.
The players took to the field this morning for their workouts beginning at 9:30 a.m..
Shortstop David Eckstein signs autographs and patiently poses for pictures with children for a long line of fans before batting practice. Sunday, Eckstein took batting practice with the Cardinals new second baseman and David's former teammate in Anaheim, Adam Kennedy. They already won one World Series Ring together in 2002. Will there be another Championship Ring soon?
The St. Louis Cardinals pitching brain trust - pitching coach Dave Duncan and bullpen coach Marty Mason - discussing Sunday's workout. Pitchers on the throwing program included Randy Flores, Anthony Reyes, Chris Carpenter, Blake Hawksworth, Mike Parisi, Josh Hancock, Chris Lambert and Brad Thompson.
I don't want you to worry, but do you see who is standing on the mound in the picture to your left (your military left)? Yeah I know, no one, well that is our fourth and fifth starter this season. :)
Not to worry sports fans, there are plenty of applicants applying for the two jobs including; relievers Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper, Josh Kinney, Brad Thomspon, Ryan Franklin and I saw Dennis Eckersley yesterday, but I can't confirm he's making a comeback.
It's really not too much out of these relievers' job description, because when we finally find a couple of starters out of this bunch, that will be a relief and I guess you could call it a "save".
Left hander Randy Flores (picture-right) was hit by a ball on the foot Saturday during drills. He was back on the mound Sunday showing no ill effects from the bruise left on his foot. Flores signed a two-year deal with the Cardinals in January of this year and will be used as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen.
The right-hander Chris Lambert (picture-left) struggled at Double-A last year, posting a 6.35 ERA in 18 starts after posting an impressive 2.63 ERA with High-A Palm Beach.
Selected in the first round (19th overall) of the June, 2004 First-Year Player Draft out of Boston College, Lambert reportedly received a $1,525,000 signing bonus. The Cardinals are hoping their investment in one of their top picks will pay off this season.
Down the field, hitting coach Hal McRae and special hitting instructor, former St. Louis Cardinal and the greatest baseball player to ever come out of Canada, Larry Walker are using a pitching machine to send fly balls to the outfielders working on their defense.
Wouldn't you think that one of these guys would have had a bat?
Minor League catcher Brian Esposito is on the field first this morning getting ready to work with lefty Randy Flores in live batting practice.
Esposito hit .234 in 55 games for Triple-A Memphis in 2006. A fifth-round draft pick of Boston in 2000, the Red Sox released him in the middle of the 2003 season and he was picked up by Anaheim. The Rangers signed him in 2004. He is a career .234 hitter in 281 career minor league games.
Somebody finally gave special hitting coach Larry Walker a bat. Some fans complained that Walker retired too soon to which Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen kidding said, "the only reason he retired is because he couldn't hit, run or play defense anymore."
The former Major League right fielder from 1989 through 2005 played for the Montreal Expos (1989-94), Colorado Rockies (1995-2004) and St. Louis Cardinals (2004-2005). Walker announced his retirement after Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series.
At the end of the day, pitching coach Dave Duncan took some time for the fans, signing some autographs and maybe a starting pitcher. That does look like a contract he is signing.