Rookie Luke Weaver getting some Attention

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I had recently noticed that MLBPipeline had ranked Cardinals Rookie Pitcher Luke Weaver at #3. It was recently reported that Weaver had caught the Cardinals GM John Mozeliak eye so far. So what is so special about Weaver?….well his fastball sitting consistently around 94 mph and Weaver showing the ability to reach back for 96 mph when needed. He holds his velocity deep into his starts and commands his fastball to both sides of the plate well. His changeup is his best secondary offering, a pitch that has excellent sink. His biggest issue is his breaking stuff. Weaver throws a slider and a curve and depending on the day, one might be better than the other. Both have a chance to be Major League average pitches. That’s all Weaver really needs in order to reach his ceiling as a solid No. 3 type starter in the big leagues, thanks to his feel for pitching and excellent command.

During Spring Training Matheny opened camp with Weaver a part of a four-pitcher group led by ace Adam Wainwright. This helped Weaver with his release point of his fastball, Lance Lynn also helped out with advice. With this in mind Luke Weaver may work his way up to the top in a matter of time.

Source: MLB/Jennifer Langosch

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Jim Edmonds to join FSMW Booth

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After three seasons of working as an analyst for the FOX Sports Midwest pregame and postgame shows, Edmonds is moving to the broadcast booth, where he’ll work alongside play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin for 30 regular-season games.

“I’m excited because it’s something different. It’s a challenge,” said Edmonds, who is serving as a guest instructor for the Cardinals at Spring Training. “I have to figure out how to approach it. I’m just going to try to do the best I can. I’m going to try to bring a different take.”

The addition of Edmonds is part of a shuffle designed to help the Cardinals’ Radio Network fill its analyst spot on the road now that Mike Shannon will be broadcasting only home games. Rick Horton will take Shannon’s place alongside radio play-by-play man John Rooney on the road, leaving him with a smaller slate of TV games overall.

Al Hrabosky and Tim McCarver will also rotate in as analysts alongside McLaughlin throughout the season. Edmonds will maintain his in-studio presence as well, as FOX Sports Midwest has him lined up to serve as the pregame and postgame analyst for approximately 20 other games.

Edmonds, who admits that he never envisioned a post-playing career as a broadcaster, did work as a game analyst once last season, when FOX Sports Midwest stationed him just beyond center field. Offering insight from that spot, he complemented the two-man broadcasting team calling the game.

Edmonds is slated to get some practice this spring by calling five Grapefruit League games for FOX Sports Midwest; he’ll be in the booth for the first time on March 9. He is also preparing for the new role by reaching out to various broadcasters for advice. Joe Buck is among those Edmonds has already talked to about the craft of calling game action.

I am looking forward to hear Edmond’s perspective. He will most definitely give a fresh insights on  todays games.

Source: Jennifer Langosch/MLB.com

New MLB Rules

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The MLB has adopted some new changes for 2016….check it out.

New rules redefining what constitutes a legal slide while trying to break up a double play and two additions to the pace-of-game initiatives have been agreed to by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.

The slide rule is intended to protect infielders while still allowing for aggressive baserunning. The latter continues efforts, which began last season, to improve the tempo of games.

Here’s the skinny on what you need to know:

THE SLIDE RULE

The basics: In the past, runners were given wide latitude coming into second base as long as they were close enough to touch the bag.

Under the new Rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a “bona fide slide,” which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

This issue rose to the forefront during the 2015 Postseason when Chase Utleybroke up a potential double play in Game 2 of the NLDS with a controversial slide that ended up injuring Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

A runner may still make contact in the course of a permissible slide, but is specifically prohibited from using a “roll block” — think Hal McRae in the ’77 ALCS — or intentionally initiating (or attempting to initiate) contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder’s knee, throwing arm or upper body.

Violators will be called out for interference, and the batter-runner will also be called out. Interference will not be called, however, if the contact is caused by the fielder positioning himself or moving into the runner’s legal path to the base.

Potential violations will be subject to instant-replay review, as will “neighborhood plays,” in which a middle infielder straddles the base or glides past it on a double-play pivot. That play was previously not eligible for replay review, and this change will mean an end to the tactic, meaning middle infielders will need to touch the base while in possession of the ball when turning a double play. If they don’t they risk the umpiring not giving them the out or the opposing manager issuing a challenge.

PACE OF PLAY/MOUND VISITS

These changes come with less fanfare, but may have a more tangible impact on the fan’s viewing experience.

The basics: Visits to the mound by managers and coaches — which previously had no time limit — will be limited to 30 seconds and between-inning break times will now match the commercial time: 2 minutes, 5 seconds for local broadcasts and 2 minutes, 25 seconds for nationally televised games. The break times were 20 seconds longer last season, but the change is expected to allow the resumption of play to more closely match the end of the breaks.

The timer for mound visits will be the same in-stadium clock that measures the between-inning breaks. The timer will be set at 30 seconds and will begin counting down when the manager or coach has exited the dugout and the timeout for a mound visit has been granted by the Umpire. Unless the manager (or coach) signals for a pitching change, he must leave the mound when (or before) the timer reaches “0” (zero) seconds.

In 2015, MLB instituted a few pace-of-play measures that had a significant impact on time of game. The focus of these changes revolved the aforementioned clocks between innings and keeping hitters in the batter’s box. Almost all of last year’s pace-of-game initiatives, which helped reduce the average game time by 6 minutes, 7 seconds per nine-inning game, will continue.

Source: Paul Hagen…MLB

Tony Phillips Passes Away

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Tony Phillips best known as a utility player for the World Series Champions Oakland A’s in 1989 against the San Fransisco Giants passed away of a heart attack. His former teammate and current Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart conveyed the news. He noted the sad fact that Phillips was preceded in death recently by two other prominent members of the A’s 1989 championship club — Bob Welch and Dave Henderson. 

Phillips was taken in the first round of the 1978 draft, cracked the majors in 1982 with the Athletics, and didn’t play his last MLB game until 1999 — at forty years of age. It took a broken leg in his final season to stop him, Slusser notes. Indeed, he put up a sturdy .244/.362/.433 batting line with 15 home runs and 11 steals in 484 plate appearances that year.

A few things I will always remember about him was that the St. Louis Cardinals had interest in him in 1996 and 1997.but as we all know that Cardinals were able to bring over Oakland A’s players Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire, Mike Gallego, Craig Paquette, Rick Honeycutt, Todd Stottlemeyer, and Scot Spiezio. He is also one of very few players that have been involved in the final plays of two world series. His first was when he struck out to end the World Series against Orel Hershiser in the 1988 World Series that the Dodgers won,  the second game was when he field a carom off of McGwire’s glove and flipped it to Dennis Eckersley to get Brett Butler out at first base.

Source: MLB

 

Yadi Molina Speaks

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In 2011 the face of the Cardinals changed when Albert Pujols left the Cardinals and signed a deal with the Angels for the rest of his career. It was soon very obvious who the main attraction really was….Yadier Benjamin Molina, this quick snap arm catcher became a huge sensation with having seven years straight as a All-Star Catcher and a seven Golden Glove Awards. Recently our beloved catcher sat down and spoke with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch about his feelings in regards to losing Tony Cruz and Jon Jay. He stated that Cruz is a “little brother” to him. “And Jon Jay” he continued. “When you see guys like that go — teammates that care about winning — you’re always disappointed. But it’s a business. You’ve got understand that. At the moment, I was disappointed. But I understand it.” Molina offered some praise for his club’s acquisition of Mike Leake and also added, perhaps unsurprisingly, that he’d like to remain with the Cardinals for his entire career. Molina is the longest-tenured player on a National League team, having debuted with the Cardinals more than 11 years ago to fill in for injured catcher Mike Matheny — now his manager. Molina is guaranteed $30MM over the next two seasons, though two of that is in the form of a $2MM buyout on a $15MM mutual option for the 2018 campaign. There has also been some whispers of bringing Yadi on as a coach at the end of his career as a Cardinal.

Source: MLB

Nationals Sign Matt Belisle

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The Nationals signed Matt Belisle this evening to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. When he was with the Cardinals last year he had a strong bottom line results in 33 2/3 innings, but his control took a notable step backwards, and his season was shortened significantly due to a lengthy DL stint that stemmed from right elbow inflammation. When healthy enough to take the mound, Belisle posted a strong 2.67 ERA, averaging 6.7 strikeouts and 4.0 walks per nine innings pitched to go along with an impressive 52.4 percent ground-ball rate. Matt Belisle just might be the gem in the the group of pitchers he has joined. He is also very familiar with Dusty Baker since he played for him in 2008.

Source: MLB

Molina on the Mend

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I am very happy to report that Yadier Molina’s cast has been removed from his left thumb. on the other hand we just don’t know when he will return to the Cardinals to start the season. Molina was sidelined for the final two weeks of the regular season after injuring his thumb for the second straight year and was then limited to eight at-bats during the NLDS series against the Chicago Cubs. He underwent the first thumb procedure in October, but it was soon discovered he needed to go under the knife again.

He’s expected to miss most of spring training and the Cardinals braced for it by signing veteran catcher Brayan Pena earlier in the offseason. Still, the club hopes Molina can be back as soon as possible.”The cast came off. Obviously now it’s about gaining strength back,” Mozeliak told KMOX Radio in St. Louis, who first reported the news of Molina’s cast removal. “I really think in about two to three weeks we should have a pretty good idea if he’s on pace to be ready to go at the beginning of the season or not. But I think we’ve just got to be patient. But right now all arrows point positively, and that’s exciting.”

Source:ESPN