17…the number of premium giveaways this year and days until 2013 Opening Night #April4
18… the number of holes in the Redbirds RBI Invitational on June 26 and days until 2013 Opening Night #April4
20… the number of people to receive a group discount and days until 2013 Opening Night
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Spring Training is a time for players at both the Major and minor league levels to show their skills in a team setting prior to the season. Some players are looking to just make the team, while others are vying to reach a specific level of the organization. Below is an update after two weeks of competition.
Oscar Taveras: Rated the #3 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America entering the year, Taveras has done everything to back that up. In nine games, Taveras has gone 9-for-30 (.300) with two doubles, two home runs, and nine RBIs. One of his home runs was a grand slam in the 1st inning off of Miami prospect Jacob Turner on February 28. Taveras’ play has garnered cries from fans and media for him to play with the big league club this season, but it is still expected that he will start the year with the Redbirds.
Trevor Rosenthal: Rosenthal started camp fighting for the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation, but was recently switched to the bullpen, where it seems likely he will end up to start the year. Rosenthal has allowed five runs in 7.0 innings this Spring, although four of those came in a 2.0-inning start on February 23 against Miami. His most recent outing was scoreless over 2.0 innings of relief, also against Miami.
Pete Kozma: Kozma seems to be slated as the Cardinals’ starting shortstop after an injury to Rafael Furcal, and has done enough this Spring to seemingly earn that right. He has gone 8-for-15 (.533) since March 1st and 12-for-28 (.429) in nine games overall, including a 3-for-3 game on March 3 against Washington and a 2-for-5 game with a home run and a double on February 25 against Houston.
Ryan Jackson: Rafael Furcal’s injury could have forced a shortstop competition at the big league level, but Jackson is probably looking to start Opening Day in Memphis. He has played in 10 games this Spring and recorded two hits in 16 at-bats (.125).
Michael Wacha: Wacha has impressed teammates, coaches, and fans with his performance so far this Spring. He has allowed one unearned run on four hits in 7.2 innings so far while striking out a team-high 11 batters. Originally expected to start at Double-A because of his lack of professional experience (21.0 career innings), Wacha has made a case for him to begin the season in the Memphis rotation.
Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly: With Rosenthal subjected to the bullpen, the battle for the fifth spot in the Cardinals’ rotation is between Miller and Kelly. With no real favorite heading into Spring Training, both have been given the opportunity to impress in Grapefruit League play. Miller has allowed three runs over 5.0 innings in the two games he’s pitched, while Kelly has allowed two runs (one earned) in 4.0 innings over two games. St. Louis fans may be a couple weeks away from finding out who their #5 starter is.
Sam Freeman: Entering camp competing for a bullpen spot with the big league club, Freeman allowed two runs on two hits in 1.0 innings on February 24 against Boston, his only outing of the Spring thus far. He then felt a renewed soreness in his left bicep while warming up on Friday, March 1 and has been sidelined ever since.
Seth Maness: Last season’s Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year has continued to make a name for himself. Maness struck out three of the four batters he faced on February 25 against Houston, and followed that by throwing 3.0 scoreless innings on Thursday against the Yankees. A spot in the Redbirds rotation should be waiting for him this year.
Victor Marte: Having spent the past three seasons back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors, Marte entered 2013 Spring Training looking to win a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. He has allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits over 3.2 innings in the four games.
Matt Adams: Adams has done more than enough to prove himself at both the minor and Major League levels, but is blocked at first base by Allen Craig. Adams has not let that phase him in Grapefruit League play, batting .400 (8-for-20) with two home runs and seven RBIs, including a pinch-hit home run on Wednesday, March 6 off of Miami’s Ryan Webb.
Barret Browning: Browning has allowed an unearned run in an inning of work on February 25 against Houston and two runs on three hits in 1.0 inning against Washington on March 3.
We can’t wait to welcome you home to AutoZone Park! Single game tickets are on sale now, so call (901) 721-6000 or visit www.memphisredbirds.com to get in on the action!
Spring Training is beginning to heat up as the Cardinals are now six games into their Grapefruit League schedule. After losing their first two contests, the Cards have won their last four, each by six runs or more. Big leaguers and minor leaguers are co-existing, all trying to prove their worth, and some trying to just make the team. Some of these players will spend time in Memphis this season. With the February games now over, let’s take a look at some players who could wear a Redbirds uniform this season that are having success so far this Spring:
1B Matt Adams has started the spring on a tear, batting .500 (5-for-10) in the four games he has played. Adams, rated the #2 first base prospect by Baseball America, has knocked in six runs this spring, including a pinch-hit, two-run home run off of Boston’s Jose de la Torre in the Cards’ fourth spring contest on Tuesday. He is expected to begin the season as the Redbirds’ everyday first baseman.
2B Kolten Wong has appeared in all but one of the Cardinals Spring Training games thus far. He is batting .333 (3-for-9) with two doubles and an RBI. He doubled and stole a base in a 5-3 loss to Boston in the second game of the spring season on Sunday. With second base an unsure position in St. Louis, Wong could make his Major League debut in 2013. However, he is expected to begin the campaign as the starting second baseman in Memphis.
RHP Michael Wacha is the one player on this list who may not see any time in Memphis this year. He is 21 years old and slated for Double-A, but his success so far this Spring Training is giving Redbirds fans hope that they could see the young pitching prospect in 2013. In two games, Wacha has allowed one unearned run on two hits over 5.0 innings. He has struck out eight batters already, including five in 3.0 innings of work on Wednesday against the Mets. Both Manager Mike Matheny and Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina have been cited as saying they are very impressed with Wacha’s performance so far.
OF Oscar Taveras, Baseball America’s #3 Prospect in all of baseball, is living up to the hype down in Jupiter, FL. He is batting .333 (5-for-15) in four Grapefruit League games, including blasting a grand slam in the first inning off of Marlin’s prospect Jacob Turner in yesterday’s contest. Although he is expected to anchor the lineup in Memphis at the start of the season, Taveras’ play has garnered cries from Cardinals fans and media for him make the jump to the big league squad.
RHP Eduardo Sanchez has thrown in two games, and has pitched almost as perfectly as can be asked for. He has not allowed a hit in 2.0 innings and has struck out four of the six batters he has faced in games against the Mets and the Red Sox. Sanchez split the 2012 campaign between Memphis and St. Louis, and could be seen wearing a Redbirds jersey throughout the season again in 2013.
SS Pete Kozma is out to prove that last season’s end-of-the-year success at the plate with St. Louis was no fluke, and is doing well so far. In four games, Kozma is batting .308 (4-for-13) with a double, a home run, and two RBIs. His long-ball came in the Cardinals third game, a solo shot off of Houston’s Paul Clemens on Monday.
OF Justin Christian is, at 32, one of the older players to receive a non-roster invite to Cardinals Spring Training. Christian has bounced around in his career, making brief Major League stops along the way, and is trying to come out of Spring Training this year with a spot on the St. Louis roster. If not, it’s possible Christian could end up in a Redbirds uniform. He has played in five Grapefruit League games so far and is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double and two RBIs, both coming on Tuesday against Boston.
RHP Seth Maness won St. Louis’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year award in 2012 while playing for Double-A Springfield. He has only pitched in one game so far this spring, but struck out three of the four Houston hitters he faced on Monday. With continued success this spring, a spot in the Redbirds’ rotation should be his.
In case you missed our ‘Twinterview’ with Cardinals minor league third baseman Jermaine Curtis on Friday, here is the conversation.
@memphisredbirds: Here we go! @JermaineCurtis are you ready to get started? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis : Ready as I will ever be! Let’s go Cardinal Nation!!! #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Where do you live in the offseason and where do you call home? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Great question. I feel like I live out of a luggage since I play with the Cardinals and then play in mexico after for 4 months. This is the time in which I am home. Rancho Cucamongo, CA, is where my family lives. #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Describe the experience playing in the Mexican Pacific League this past winter #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: The competition and overall experience is great. I play with guys who have played in the MLB and they help me in my game. The best part about it is that I continue to play baseball year round. It’s a blessing #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: You played baseball at UCLA for 3 years. Was it a difficult decision to leave before your senior season? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Yes it was a difficult decision to leave. UCLA is a huge family and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and time. But, it was the next chapter in my life that I had to get on to #uclabruins #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Everyone here boasts about SEC baseball. How does the PAC 12 stack up, being that you’re a bruins guy? # Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Hahaha we debate about this every year in our clubhouse. Everyone knows the PAC 12 has the best pitching and prospects. Check the last 5 years #PAC12domination #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: You were an All-Star and won the TL championship with @Sgf_Cardinals last year. What are your goals for 2013? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: To continue to improve, have fun, win, win, and win for the Cardinals. My question to you guys-Are you guys excited for this year? What are your guys goals for 2013? #Twinterview ha
@JermaineCurtis: I also want to help promote @base and #UpcomingPros.com #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Where was your favorite place to eat while in Memphis last year? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: My favorite place to eat was BB Kings Blues. So delicious. I hope to try other places this year. Any recommendations? #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: @MajesticGrille, @HueysRestaurant, @Rendevous_Ribs, @kookycanuck are good places #Twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Which #Cardinals player doyou model your game after? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Great question-I model my game after every Cardinals player. Having heart, toughness, drive, hardworking, etc. The Cardinals teach us the Cardinal Way and that is why we are winners #cardinalnation #cardinals #babybirds #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: Who was your favorite MLB player growing up and why? #twinterview
@JermaineCurti : KEN GRIFFEY JR. He was very cool and talented. He had a presence about him that you couldn’t ignore. He inspired many people to play the game #twinterview
@memphisredbirds: The Oscars (@TheAcademy) are this weekend. Can you give a brief review of a movie you have seen lately? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: Hahaha the last movie I saw was #WarmBodies and I didn’t like it much #twinterview
@memphisredbirds : Which actor would portray you in a movie about your life? #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: #WillSmith because he is driven and passionate as I am. He and I want to take over the world. #legend #twinterview #Business
@memphisredbirds: Good answer. One last Question: Tell us something about you that the fans don’t already know. #Twinterview
@JermaineCurtis: I own a business where I put breathalyzer machines in bars in LA to help save lives against drinking and driving. In addition, it has a 12 inch screen on it where I sell avertisements. The name of that site is called Afflotech.com #Twinterview #entrepenuers #MADD #Upcomingpros.com
The official World Baseball Classic rosters have been officially announced, and the Memphis Redbirds are well represented. Eight former Redbirds players will participate in the Classic, two as coaches and six as players. The United States and Italy both have two former Redbirds on their roster, while Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico will also have Memphis ties. Here are the eight former Memphis Redbirds who will represent their country in the World Baseball Classic beginning on March 1 in Taichung, Taiwan.
Stubby Clapp, Coach, Canada: Clapp played for the Redbirds from 1999-2002, batting .269 with 22 home runs and 167 RBIs over that span. He appeared in 26 games for the Cardinals in 2001. His #10 jersey is the first and only jersey retired by the Redbirds. Clapp is currently the hitting coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays, Single-A affiliate of Toronto.
Steve Ontiveros, Coach, China: Ontiveros made three starts for the Redbirds in 1998, the first year the team was in existence, and went 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA. He played in major league games for the Oakland A’s (1985-88), Philadelphia Phillies (1989-90), Seattle Mariners (1993) and Boston Red Sox (2010). Ontiveros was named an American League All-Star in 2005 while with Oakland and led the American League in ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.03) at the end of the strike-shortened 1994 season. He pitched for the Chinese National team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Nick Punto, INF, Italy: Punto played five games for the Redbirds in 2011 and went 3-for-15 at the plate. He is currently on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster, and has appeared in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies (2001-03), Minnesota Twins (2004-10), St. Louis Cardinals (2011), Boston Red Sox (2012), and the Dodgers (2012). Punto batted .219 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 87 games between the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2012.
Dan Serafini, LHP, Italy: Serafini pitched in three games (two starts) for the Redbirds in 2003, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He played in the MLB for the Minnesota Twins (1996-98), Chicago Cubs (1999), San Diego Padres (2000), Pittsburgh Pirates (2000), Cincinnatti Reds (2003), and Colorado Rockies (2007). In 2012, Serafini split time between Bridgeport of the Independent League, and Monterrey and Aquascalientes of the Mexican League. He went a combined 9-6 with a 5.46 ERA in 28 games (22 starts) in 2012.
Fernando Salas, RHP, Mexico: Salas made appearances in Memphis every year from 2009-12, combining to go 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 65 games in relief. He was named a Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star in 2010. Salas also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2010-12 and was a member of the 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals. In 2012, Salas went 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA for the Cards. He also pitched in four games for the Redbirds, going 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA.
Yadier Molina, C, Puerto Rico: Molina played for the Redbirds in 2004, when he batted .302 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 37 games. He has been the catcher for the Cardinals ever since and was also a member of both the 2006 and 2011 World Series Champion teams. Molina is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time All-Star with the Cardinals. He played 138 games behind the dish for the Cards in 2012, batting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Mitchell Boggs, RHP, United States: Boggs pitched for Memphis in 2008-09 and again in 2011, a total of 39 games started. He went 15-9 with a 3.87 ERA as a Redbird and was named a Triple-A All-Star by Baseball America in 2008. Boggs has played for the Cardinals since 2008, mostly coming out of the bullpen. In 214 games (15 starts) for the Cards, Boggs has gone 13-12 with a 3.80 ERA. He had his best major league season in 2012, when he went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 78 games out of the bullpen.
Chris Perez, RHP, United States: (removed due to shoulder injury) Now the closer for the Cleveland Indians, Perez pitched for the Redbirds from 2007-2009. He went 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 21 saves while in Memphis. Perez pitched for the Cardinals during the 2008-09 seasons and has pitched in Cleveland ever since, being named to the American League All-Star team in 2011 and 2012. Last season, Perez went 0-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 39 saves in 61 games for the Indians.