Manager Gaylen Pitts returns for his second season with the club, looking to build on a solid 2007 campaign that saw the Cardinals finish second in the FSL's East Division at 71-69 (.507).
Pitts, who in 2006 won a New York-Penn League short-season championship with the Staten Island Yankees, welcomes a brand-new coaching staff headlined by former longtime major leaguers Dennis Martinez and Keith Mitchell.
"El Presidente", as he was affectionately called throughout his stellar 22-year career, is perhaps best known for his 1991 perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mitchell, who played with four
different major league teams over his seven-year major league tenure, leaves his
post as the manager of the Swing of the Quad Cities after two years to take over
the hitting coach responsibilities for
The 2008 Palm Beach Cardinals will
feature a 25-man acting roster, including seven players that were with the team
last year. Here is a look at the
Tyler Herron earned the Opening Day start against the Hammerheads on April 3rd. Herron, the 21-year-old right-hander, pitched effectively for Quad Cities last season, starting 22 games and compiling a 10-7 record with a 3.74 ERA.
Fellow first-round pick Mark McCormick, one of the most heralded prospects in the Cardinals' organization,
will also be in
The Cardinals will be using a tandem starter system to their top arms fresh and allow more players to prepare and compete as starting pitchers. Pairings include Herron with Brandon Dickson, McCormick with Brad Furnish, Jess Todd with Kyle Sadlowski and David Kopp with Kyle Mura.
Mura, who set up Maiques last season in Quad Cities, was outstanding in 2007 in relief, amassing a 7-0 record with a 1.66 ERA over 59 innings.
Closer Kenny Maiques anchors one
Marco Gonzalez is another name to
watch coming out of the bullpen.
Gonzalez posted a 2-0 record with a 1.44 ERA last season between Low-A
Batavia and the
The Cardinals will be carrying four catchers to start the 2008 season. Starting catcher Nick Derba is coming off a stellar campaign in which he threw out 53 percent of would-be-base-stealers between. Derba, drafted in 2007, has already been promoted two levels in his short professional career.
Third baseman Tony Cruz will also be seeing some time behind the plate. Prior to this season, organization officials told Cruz that his best chance to make the major leagues would be as a catcher. Cruz has embraced the change and spent most of the spring getting reacquainted with the position. Still, Cruz will be the starting third-baseman on Opening Day, batting clean-up.
Brandon Buckman will be the
Cardinals starting first baseman, which is where he finished the 2007
season. After being called up from
the Midwest League, Buckman batted .268 with five home runs and 27 RBIs for
Last year's third-round pick
Daniel Descalso will be
Isa Garcia will be spelling
Descalso at second, and most likely filling in when Descalso plays third. Garcia ended his 2007 season with
20-year-old Donovan Solano will
get the nod at shortstop for
Solano will be backed-up by Oliver Marmol, the Cardinals' sixth-round pick in the 2007 draft.
As aforementioned, the third base
position will probably be a revolving door this season in
Tyler Henley was the starting
right fielder and lead-off hitter on Opening Day.
Tommy Pham is
Daryl Jones rounded out
Nathan Southard is the Cardinals' fourth outfielder to begin the season.
*Jim Rapoport will start the season on the DL.
Note: Don't miss these reports all
season long from our on-site reporters in the Cardinals minor league affiliate
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