Tag Archive | "Cardinals Spring Training"

St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training Games Mean Little But Should Be Fun

The day pitchers and catchers report is always a special day in the baseball community. It marks the symbolic end to the offseason, but another special day approaches this weekend to mark another step toward the birth of another baseball season.

Cardinals Spring Baseball

The St. Louis Cardinals will open their exhibition schedule at 12:05 p.m. Saturday against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.  That will officially mark the beginning of spring training that more fans can follow, rather than breathlessly waiting on reports of how a second baseman looked while fielding ground balls or how a pitcher looked during a bullpen session.

Admittedly, spring training games aren’t a huge step up from regular spring training workouts. Pitchers will each throw just a few innings and batters who will eventually fill the regular-season lineup will take only one or two at bats, if at all. This year’s Cardinals roster is relatively set for Opening Day, but these will still be baseball games that will gloriously fill the afternoons throughout the rest of February and March.

Some fanatics will surely try to analyze these early games and try to draw conclusions about how a pitcher such as Shelby Miller will perform this season based on a two-inning performance in the first week of March. That outing won’t mean anything in the grand scheme of a season, but hey, it gives fans something to talk about that isn’t contract negotiations or performance-enhancing drugs.

Fans also get a bonus this year because the games will start about a week earlier than normal because the World Baseball Classic will take place during the first half of March, and teams needed some extra time with their players who would be gone for a couple of weeks because of the tournament.

The Cardinals will lose catcher Yadier Molina, rightfielder Carlos Beltran and reliever Mitchell Boggs to the World Baseball Classic, but those three already have defined roles that would only change if they got hurt, which is a whole other issue that comes with the World Baseball Classic.

Otherwise, minor leaguers will fill the field for much of the spring games, but this year fans will likely recognize several of the names in those box scores.

Outfielder Oscar Taveras is one of the Cardinals most highly touted prospects. He hit .321 with 23 homeruns and 94 RBIs with the AA-affiliate Springfield Cardinals last year, and MLB Network recently ranked him as the third-best prospect in all of baseball. In fact, the Cardinals had six players make MLB Network’s list of the top 100 prospects.

Miller came in at 25th, and he will be a strong contender for the fifth spot in the Cardinals starting rotation this year. Trevor Rosenthal ranked 43rd, and he figures to be an important part of the Cardinals pitching staff in 2013.

The other three Cardinals players on the list are unlikely to make the team, but the spring training games should give fans a chance to see second baseman Kolten Wong, as well as pitchers Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha, for the first time.

Folks have talked about those prospects for more than a year, and this year’s exhibition schedule should allow fans their first chance to see how excited they should be about the Cardinals No. 1-ranked minor league system.

Miller, Rosenthal and Joe Kelly will compete for the fifth and final rotation spot, and Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter will battle for the second base job. Otherwise, not much of what takes place during the 32-game schedule will have much of an effect on the Cardinals’ 2013 season.

And that’s OK. The Cardinals will be playing actual baseball games.

While temperatures in St. Louis remain in the 30s and 40s, that is good enough for now.

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Cardinals Spring Training Pics From InsideSTL

Our friends over at InsideSTL spent last week hanging out at a picnic table, and eventually under a tent, in Jupiter, Florida and talking with any Cardinal players that came by and were willing to sit down for a few minutes.

What resulted were some great candid shots of the guys as well as a very candid interview with Adam Wainwright about his contract situation.

The images below were posted to their website and are being shared here with their permission.

Carlos Beltran

Picture 1 of 62

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Remember when St. Louis Cardinals spring training was more about baseball than contracts?

St. Louis Cardinals players reported to Jupiter, Fla., last week to kick off spring training 2013, but that first week was full of contract talk instead of baseball talk, an unfortunate situation that has become the norm at Cardinals camp in recent years.

MoAndMatheny

The Cardinals even went bigger than usual in the first week this year by having three contract announcements, but at least two of those were positive announcements. The organization picked up the option on manager Mike Matheny’s contract for the 2014 season, and it signed general manager John Mozeliak to a three-year extension.

The other announcement wasn’t so joyful. Adam Wainwright and the team said contract negotiations with the pitcher are not active at the moment, and there is not a timetable for when that situation will be put to rest.

All of these are necessary procedures for a Major League Baseball organization, but it takes away from the excitement of spring training and shifts the focus away from what we all want to enjoy: players on the field preparing for the upcoming season.

Unfortunately, early spring training workouts have been an afterthought in the past three seasons.

In 2010, Albert Pujols arrived at spring training camp in much the same situation Wainwright walked into camp this year. Pujols was headed into the final year of his contract with the Cardinals, and people spent an incredible amount of time talking and analyzing Pujols’ situation, nevermind the team was actually preparing for a season that would end with a World Series championship.

Spring training in 2011 wasn’t as bad, but that’s more because the result turned out much better for the Cardinals. Pujols had left the Cardinals and signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in December 2010, but the Cardinals had another important part of their team heading into the dreaded final year of a contract.

That important player was Yadier Molina. People were already speculating about him joining Pujols in Anaheim after his contract expired at the end of the year, but Molina and the Cardinals squashed that talk early in spring training when he signed a five-year, $75-million extension to stay with the club.

Then came this year, and the Cardinals are again stuck in contract negotiations with a star player. It’s anybody’s guess how Wainwrights contract situation will play out, but that’s what keeps people talking about it even though we are less than a week away from the start of actual spring training games.

Understandably, high-profile contract negotiations are part of the way of life for Major League Baseball teams these days as salaries rise to the next astronomical amount and the performance-enhancing drugs topic refuses to go away.

However, the quality of life for teams, players and their fans might be better if people spent more time talking about exciting new players or position battles instead of off-the-field issues.

Spring training is a seemingly magical time of year when teams go to the tropics to work on aspects of their game so they are ready to debut for an excited fan base when they return home for Opening Day.

Baseball is great when it is little more than those quaint storylines. It’s too bad much of that gets overshadowed by the modern realities of the sport.

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Wainwright Comments Sound Similar To Pujols

St. Louis Cardinals ace starting pitcher Adam Wainwright announced Tuesday that contract talks between himself and the Cardinals have stalled for the time being. It’s not time to panic that Wainwright won’t come back, but the result wasn’t pretty the last time contract talks between the Cardinals and a superstar fell apart in spring training.

AlbertPujolsAdamWainwright

That last time was in 2011 when Albert Pujols arrived at spring training in Jupiter, Fla., with one year left on his contract with the Cardinals.

“I have made it very clear that I do not want any of this to be a distraction during the season, and it was for that reason, that we came up with a deadline,” Pujols said Feb. 16, 2011, the day contract talks officially ended until after the season.

Wainwright has not set that type of deadline, but time is becoming precious for him and the Cardinals to hammer out a new contract before the season starts.

Wainwright’s biggest concern is the same reason Pujols wanted to set a deadline in his negotiations: He doesn’t want the contract situation to become a distraction.

“There does need to be some urgency on both sides just to try to get this done if it’s going to happen before the season starts, just for peace of mind for everyone,” Wainwright said earlier in the week.

Unfortunately, the numbers aren’t adding up no matter how much both sides want to get a deal done. Sound familiar?

Pujols and the Cardinals both suggested they wanted to get a deal done quickly so Pujols would remain with the Cardinals for the remainder of his career, but it didn’t happen. Pujols is now set to enter the second year of his 10-year, $240-million deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

As was the case with Pujols two years ago, Wainwright’s value is something of a mystery right now. He’s a Cy Young Award-caliber pitcher who is unquestionably going to be the ace of the Cardinals’ pitching staff this season. But, he’s also a 31-year-old pitcher who has already missed an entire season with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.

Pujols was considered the greatest player in the game heading into the 2011 season. He had just come off of a season when he hit .312 with 42 homeruns and 118 RBIs, but people still asked the same questions about Pujols as they are currently asking about Wainwright.

Pujols was 31 years old, and a long-term deal could create many problems for a team if he gets hurt or simply doesn’t produce nearly as much as he ages. That’s the great unknown that factors into all contract negotiations with star players.

Still, the Cardinals would do well to sign Wainwright before the season starts. They signed catcher Yadier Molina to a five-year, $75-million contract before the 2012 season, nobody said a word about contract negotiations for the rest of the season and Molina had the best season of his career.

Pujols and the Cardinals didn’t get a deal done a year earlier, and Pujols had the worst season of his career. That was the first time he hadn’t hit at least .300 or had at least 100 RBIs.

Wainwright’s value will also likely increase, possibly dramatically, if he has a stellar 2013 season. The price of pitching rises exponentially each offseason, and there is little doubt the asking price for good pitchers during next year’s free-agent period will again produce eye-popping contract numbers.

These are anxious times as the Cardinals and another star player battle through contract negotiations in February. And with each passing day, the situation only gets scarier with the possibility Wainwright might not be a Cardinal beyond 2013.

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Cards debut 2012 ad campaign

ST. LOUIS – March 29, 2012 – Fans that follow the Cardinals online and via social media have been among the first to see the team’s new lineup of television spots.

While the TV campaign will begin officially on local television this Sunday, fans are already enjoying the exclusive sneak preview. Each of the ten spots is being individually debuted this week on the Cardinals’ Facebook page (facebook/cardinals), Twitter feed (@cardinals) and website (cardinals.com/tvads).

“We thought it would be fun to provide fans a sneak preview via a film festival format by releasing the spots one at a time through Facebook, Twitter and the team website,” said Dan Farrell, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “We want to get fans engaged and create some buzz for the ad campaign.”

The first three ads were unveiled yesterday, with the remainder slated to debut over the next two days.  Fan feedback to the ads has been very positive, with hundreds of fans engaging in a dialogue about the spots on both Facebook and Twitter (#cardstvads). Once all of the spots are live on the website, fans will be able to vote for their favorites on the page as well.

Filmed in February during Cardinals spring training in Jupiter, Fla., the campaign again incorporates many of the team’s key players, including Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, David Freese and more. The campaign was developed by the team’s new advertising agency HLK Advertising of St. Louis.

Fans who want to see the ads can go to cardinals.com/tvads and follow the team on Twitter @cardinals (#cardstvads) and Facebook (facebook.com/cardinals).

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Injury woes 2012

It would not be a St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training without health questions surrounding a key player, and once again a member of the starting rotation is awaiting test results analysis and a diagnosis before throwing again. But the name attached this time is all too familiar to these situations: Chris Carpenter.

All the facts of this story can be found in Joe Strauss’s STLtoday piece from Friday. Right now, no one really knows much about the cause of Carpenter’s neck discomfort, but updates should start trickling in this weekend as the information makes its way back to Florida from St. Louis.

The real question on everyone’s minds is simple, though. What now?

It’s hard to get too panicked over this news because, honestly, it cannot be that big of a surprise. Carpenter’s injury history is checkered, to say the least, and he threw over 270 innings in 2011 (including the postseason). No one should claim they saw this coming, but when the word came in how many had a reaction similar to “Ah…Carpenter has an injury? OK then.” Hearing about Carpenter battling through something is different than hearing about Adam Wainwright last year. Wainwright was young and durable. Carpenter is neither. But speaking of Wainwright, the Cardinals certainly managed to right the ship after his departure and ended the 2011 season on a bit of a high note. Who says they can’t do the same thing in 2012 if Carpenter ends up having to miss significant time?

Unfortunately, it may be an even longer shot this time around. Last year, the Cards had a healthy Carpenter ready to step in and take the ace role in Wainwright’s absence. This year, the Cards have Wainwright back—but he is not 100% yet. He may not be at any time in 2012. So the team cannot and should not expect him to pick up all of the slack and toss 200+ innings this season. If he ends up doing that, great. But counting on it would be a mistake.

One more thing the Cards should absolutely, positively stay away from at all costs is another bullpen-to-rotation-to-bullpen song and dance with Kyle McClellan. Last year, McClellan started off pretty well as a starter. But once Edwin Jackson was acquired, McClellan was no longer needed for the rotation. Back to the bullpen he went, but the innings had already taken a toll. By the end of 2011 McClellan was gassed. They really need to let him stick with one thing, and he has proven several times he can handle a full season as a reliever.

Remember the Roy Oswalt sweepstakes of a couple months ago? Still going on, except now no one is trying. Oswalt is a free agent and perhaps could be a candidate for a spot in the Cards’ rotation if Carpenter can’t go for a while. The Redbirds could also look internally for a young pitcher to step in for some starts if Carpenter is only expected to miss a few weeks. But, again, messing with the integrity of the bullpen by “promoting” a reliever to the rotation could prove to be a mistake with the potential of affecting both sections of the pitching staff. Maybe a Triple A pitcher chomping at the bit gets a look at Busch Stadium this year…

No one has all the answers yet, but you can bet the questions will continue to mount. Perhaps this is just a minor speed bump with little to no effect on the regular season. Or perhaps it is more. Hopefully the news over the weekend into next week is good news.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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No news is good news to start St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training

The St. Louis Cardinals opened camp for pitchers and catchers Feb. 18 and had their first full-squad workout Thursday in Jupiter, Fla. So far there hasn’t been much of note to come from any Spring Training activities, and that’s a good thing.

At this point last year the Cardinals had already grabbed headlines throughout the country for two major reasons. First baseman Albert Pujols showed up to camp after shutting down contract negotiations with the team, and starting pitcher Adam Wainwright blew out his elbow on the first day.

This year everything has been more low-key, which is slightly amazing since the team is the defending World Series champions.

That’s not to say the team’s Spring Training isn’t full of storylines. Catcher Yadier Molina is approaching a contract situation similar to what Pujols experienced last year, and the team has a new manager in Mike Matheny. Both of those situations will get plenty of attention as the season approaches and probably throughout most of the season, but not much is going to happen to either of them anytime soon.

Molina and the Cardinals still have a ways to go in contract talks that have thus far been inconsistent, at best. Although people will be interested in what Matheny does throughout Spring Training, managers don’t often do many noteworthy things until it comes time to make roster decisions late in the spring.

Instead, Cardinals camp has opened quietly and all of the on-field action has been positive. Lance Berkman provided the grandest entrance to Spring Training this side of Pujols when he arrived Thursday with a mustache worthy of professional wrestler Sgt. Slaughter.

We’ve seen teams invent some interesting hairstyles in the name of team loyalty and a late-season push. For example, the Tampa Bay Rays sported Mohawks for their stretch run to the World Series in 2008. If the Cardinals are in a tight battle late in the season, might they grow rally mustaches?

These are the days to have fun. This is the first week the team has been together since it won the World Series in October, and they still have another week until actual Spring Training games begin. Once March 5 rolls around and the Cardinals take the field against the Miami Marlins, they should be close to game shape and the ever-interesting position battles will begin in earnest.

Fair or not, that is also when fans will begin evaluating Matheny. Former manager Tony La Russa used the Grapefruit League standings as motivation. He wanted the Cardinals to leave Florida on top. Whether Matheny takes the same approach is yet to be seen, but this is a veteran team with core players who know how to prepare for the regular season.

The Cardinals haven’t had a headline-grabbing Spring Training to this point, but early spring headlines usually aren’t very positive.

There is a saying that a bad Spring Training means a good regular season. That might not be 100 percent the truth, but a Spring Training without many newsworthy events usually means a smooth transition into the regular season for potential playoff contenders such as the Cardinals.

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La Russa’s Departure Could Mark Return Of Dormant Cardinals History

The St. Louis Cardinals opened Spring Training camp Saturday with a markedly different cast compared to the past 16 seasons.

Former manager Tony La Russa wasn’t in Jupiter, Fla., this weekend to lead a new group of Cardinals through their calisthenics and everything that comes with the first few weeks of Spring Training. Instead, La Russa retired days after winning the World Series, and he will now help out his buddy Jim Leyland and the Detroit Tigers.

As La Russa moves on to do whatever he wants during his retirement, Cardinals camp will start to look a lot more like it did in the decades before La Russa showed up in 1996.

Most notably, Whitey Herzog and Ozzie Smith will be at camp to help out the current group of Cardinals. That should be a welcome sight to Cardinals fans.

Even though La Russa won baseball games for the Cardinals (1,408 to be exact), he didn’t always have a good relationship with important members of Cardinals history. Smith played his final season in 1996 for La Russa, but the two developed a frosty relationship as La Russa tried to install Royce Clayton as the new shortstop to replace Smith.

Smith hasn’t been at a Cardinals Spring Training camp since.

This isn’t to say La Russa discarded the history and tradition of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was well aware of how important the history of the franchise is to the community and even pushed to bring the Budweiser Clydesdales back to Busch Stadium to circle the field as they did back when Gussie Busch owned the team.

La Russa also kept former second baseman and manager Red Schoendienst on staff as an assistant both in Spring Training and during the season. And, La Russa chafed at the idea of passing Schoendienst on the all-time win list for Cardinals managers, even though he eventually surpassed Schoendienst’s mark by nearly 400 wins.

Still, La Russa always had his own way of doing things, and his methods often did not include advice from other Cardinals heroes. But, this year Herzog, Smith, Schoendienst, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson are all expected to be central figures in Cardinals Spring Training camp under new manager Mike Matheny.

In addition, former centerfielder Jim Edmonds will return to the team as an instructor for Spring Training and former closer Ryan Franklin will be an assistant to general manger John Mozeliak.

Edmonds’ return to the team as an instructor surely wouldn’t have happened if La Russa was still the manager. Although Edmonds and La Russa had a great run together during the 2000s, their relationship soured once the Cardinals traded Edmonds to the San Diego Padres following the 2007 season and he eventually ended up with the hated Chicago Cubs.

This season was going to be the beginning of a new era in Cardinals history regardless of how Matheny set up camp, but it is nice to see some of the Cardinals legends wear the red jersey with the birds on the bat logo across their chest.

So as the doors to 2012 Spring Training open, hopefully this year’s team adds to the impressive history set forth by many of the people who will lend a helping hand for the next six weeks.

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Where Are They Now: Ryan Ludwick

Few Cardinals players in recent memory have come along like Ryan Ludwick. He seemed to burst on the scene so quickly that he was on us before we knew it, and many fans didn’t even know who he was! In fact, if you’re reading this, have been a Cards fan for long, and are completely honest with yourself, you originally thought it was Ryan Ludwig. Didn’t you? C’mon, didn’t you? Don’t beat yourself up too badly over it–you were probably the “go to” person in your circle of friends for distinguishing Brian Barton & Brian Barden, weren’t you? Yeah, you were.

What you may not know is that after being invited to the Cardinals spring training camp in 2007, he would start the season in AAA Memphis. In less than a month there, he’d hit .340 with 8 bombs, and when Preston Wilson went on the DL on May 6th, Ludwick made his Cardinals debut. This was not his Major League debut, however, not by a long shot.

Ludwick actually made his debut with the 2002 Texas Rangers. (Yeah, ‘02) Some of his teammates at the time included names like Michael Young, Juan Gonzalez, and Kenny Rogers. There were future Hall of Famers, Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, & Alex Rodriguez, as well as never Hall of Famer (“Period!”), Rafael Palmeiro. Other names that dot that roster that you may be familiar with include: Travis Hafner, Todd Van Poppel, John Rocker, Dennys “like the restaurant” Reyes, Randy Flores, along with 22 year-old Colby Lewis.
Things were over for Ludwick almost as quickly as they began, as a fractured hip would pretty much punch his one-way ticket out of Arlington. In 2 years with the Rangers, he played in a paltry 31 games, where, in 118 plate appearances he hit .215, hit 1HR, had 9 RBI, and slugged .308, and was traded to the Indians on July 18th, 2003. Of the 66 games remaining in the season, Ludwick split time between the corner outfield spots & DH in the 39 games in which he played. Those 39 games he played in an Indians uniform in ‘03 would exceed the combined number of games he’d play for them in ‘04 and ‘05.

On October 15th, 2005, he became a free agent, and signed with the Tigers two months later. After spending all of 2006 playing AAA ball for the Toledo Mud Hens, Ludwick would again become a free agent on the 15th of October, just in time to (speculation alert!) spend the next two weeks rooting against the team that just granted him free agency. Little did he know that in doing so, he would be rooting for his next employer, the [2006-World-Champion-because-they-beat-the-Tigers] St. Louis Cardinals.

Upon his arrival in St. Louis, Ryan Ludwick mashed at the plate early & often, earning him a spot on the 2008 NL All-Star team, as well as the 2008 Silver Slugger award. Take a look at these numbers, and recall the ones (above) from his days in Arlington:

2007: (StL) 339 PA .267 AVG 14 HR 52 RBI .479 SLG
2008: (StL) 617 PA .299 AVG 37 HR 113 RBI .591 SLG
2009: (StL) 539 PA .265 AVG 22 HR 97 RBI .447 SLG
2010: (StL) 312 PA .281 AVG 11 HR 43 RBI .484 SLG
2010: (SD) 239 PA .211 AVG 6 HR 26 RBI .330 SLG

This probably felt pretty good, if I had to guess

Notice anything? Average & power both drop off sharply after Luddy heads west!

Those were his numbers last year, when he was batting behind the 2nd-best 1st baseman in the league, Adrian Gonzalez…who is now in Boston. This leaves Ludwick heading into 2011 with very little protection in that lineup, which is reason to believe it will be increasingly difficult to bring some of those numbers back up. Add to that the fact that he’s in the same division as the Giants, and will be facing that rotation on a regular basis all season, and it gets really tough! Oh, and ask 100 pitchers (across AL and NL) what park they’d love to pitch in most…many will name the place where Ludwick will play 81 games…Petco in San Diego.

I have to admit that I was among those who, at the time of the deal, said, “We weren’t going to be able to afford to bring Ludwick back anyway.”. But, I think we bought low & sold high on him–and let’s face it, bringing Westbrook to St. Louis is HUGE now, given recent developments with our starting rotation and injuries. I hate to say it about a fan favorite like Luddy, and we did benefit tremendously from his talent while he was here, but I’d be surprised to see him put up numbers anywhere near what he did while wearing the birds on the bat.

I’m afraid the future may not be too promising for Ludwick as a Padre, at least not at this point. A trade or break out year by Brad Hawpe or someone could change all of that, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Bird Food: Odds And Ends

The facilities at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida will soon be welcoming back an entire flock of players as the Cardinals’ Spring Training venue comes to life for 2011. Like last year, players should not only be expecting coaching on their baseball skills, but also a renewed team focus on the importance of nutrition as part of an athletic training program.

In 2010 the Cardinals implemented an organization-wide mandate to bring nutrition to the forefront of their baseball training program. Everything from team meals to vending machine options in the clubhouse was overhauled in support of this new focus on healthy food choices.

Towards the end of the 2010 season, I had the opportunity to meet with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, Pete Prinzi, and visit with him about the specifics of the team’s nutrition program, including how the players felt about such drastic changes to their food supply.

Many thanks to Pete for giving us an inside look at how he helps the Cardinals maximize their performance through nutrition. What follows is part three of the transcript of our interview. You can read part two by clicking here.


Odds and Ends

Erika Lynn, I-70 Baseball: Earlier in the season, television audiences watched Albert Pujols pull nutrition bars out of his pocket during games. What were the bars?

Pete Prinzi: They were OH YEAH bars, his favorite, he eats them every game just like clock work.

I-70: I imagine there are many companies sending their products to the players/team hoping for such a promotion. With food and nutrition being a new focus, are players more conscious about what they are seen eating/drinking?

Prinzi: To a degree, I don’t think they are concerned with being seen with the wrong food, but more concerned with fueling their body to achieve the desired energy for performance.

I-70: What are pre-game meals for the Cardinals?

Prinzi: We provide mainly fast acting carbohydrates, but also some slow acting carbohydrates and lean meats.

I-70: Do they load carbohydrates?

Prinzi: Our starting pitchers will do a form of Carbohydrate loading.

I-70: During games, what foods/snacks are available to players to keep their energy up? We’ve seen the sunflower seeds and bubble gum. Is there more variety available to them during games, especially those extra inning games?

Prinzi: The seeds and gum are more traditional in nature. Certain fruits, bars, and shakes are utilized during our games.

I-70: Many young athletes are using protein powder from the health stores in an effort to gain muscle mass. Do Cardinals players use protein powders or nutrition supplements (powders/pills) to boost their diet intake?

Prinzi: We prefer a food first approach, but in certain cases we will supplement a player’s diet with protein powders or ready to drink shakes.

I-70: What is the view from a trainer or conditioning coach about protein powder?

Prinzi: It can be a useful tool, but not a necessity.

I-70: How much of your job has become MORE focused on nutrition this year as compared to previous years?

Prinzi: Not much more. I have always placed importance on nutrition ever since I started working for the Cardinals back in 1997 and was able to help Rick Ankiel go from 21% body fat down to 9%.

I-70: Wow! How did you help him achieve such amazing results?

Prinzi: Rick came to us at 19 and had a good amount of body fat and bad eating habits. He was eager to make a change in his habits and willing to follow my guidelines. A lot of hard work through training and diet yielded him the results he earned. Since then he has not looked back. To this day he is in excellent shape. It’s no accident though. He works incredibly hard.

And Now…. Just For Fun – Fans love to know fun facts about their favorite players:

I-70: What are some of the specific pre/post game food rituals of some of the Cardinals pitchers or position players?

Prinzi: Adam Wainwright has a specialty PB & J before every game.

I-70: Who is the most nutrition-conscious of the team (most careful about their diet)?

Prinzi: Chris Carpenter.

I-70: Who is the least careful about their nutrition?

Prinzi: Brendan Ryan.

Thanks again to Pete Prinzi! And if you would like to learn more about the specific principles of nutrition programs such as the one developed for the Cardinals by Sports Nutrition Consultant Dave Ellis you can visit http://www.fuelingtactics.com/

Erika Lynn is a contributor for i70baseball.com, BaseballDigest.com and writes about the Cardinals at Cardinal Diamond Diaries. You can also find her on Twitter: @Erika4stlcards.

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