JUPITER, Fla. -- Only a year removed from taking the field with his University of Hawaii teammates, infielder Kolten Wong now finds himself taking defensive pointers from a 13-time Gold Glove Award winner and one of the most respected infield coaches in the Majors.
For a 21-year-old with only 47 games of professional experience, that opportunity to spend a few weeks in big league camp is exceptionally beneficial, even if borderline overwhelming.
"It's been amazing," said Wong, the Cardinals' first-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. "As soon as I got here, everyone brought me in with open arms. A lot of those guys have been really good to me and have really helped me get better in every aspect of the game."
Ozzie Smith and Jose Oquendo have given the top pick individualized attention, as have some of the veteran infielders on the team. Wong is not here to fight for a Major League roster spot -- he'll likely begin the year in Class A -- but for a player who has the potential to rise through the Minors rather quickly, this exposure should jump-start his growth.
Wong's greatest focus so far has been on the defensive end, and the second baseman has spent extra time improving his double play turns. As he pointed out, in college "you're not used to guys trying to take you out."
Because he signed quickly last summer, Wong has already gotten an introduction to the level of competition in the Minors. In 47 games with Low-A Quad Cities (Iowa), Wong hit .335 with 22 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs and nine stolen bases.
"They drafted me high because they knew I could play," Wong said. "I'm just out here showing them that I'm going to work hard and I can play. I'm going to take any advice that I can to become a better player and help the team."
Cards pitchers brave rain to finish workouts
JUPITER, Fla. -- Though rain played havoc with the Cardinals' workout schedule, all 15 pitchers who were scheduled to throw off the mound on Wednesday did eventually get their work in.
Rain began falling around 10:40 a.m. ET, just as players were finishing their stretch and conditioning warmup on the field. Everyone scrambled back into the clubhouse and remained there for close to two hours while dark clouds hovered over the facility.
Some pitchers, including Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse, took advantage of a brief break in the rain to throw outside on the bullpen mounds. That window didn't last long, and another rainstorm forced everyone back inside for good.
Those who did not pitch outside threw their side session in the indoor cages. No one was able to face any hitters, even though 10 pitchers were initially scheduled to do so.
While the pitchers managed to squeeze in their work, position players did not take any fielding practice. Some players did spend time in the batting cages.
Cards agree to terms with 24 players
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have agreed to contract terms with 24 players on the 40-man roster who have between zero and three years of Major League service time. In doing so, St. Louis now has everyone on the roster under contract for 2012.
Finalizing contracts for players who have not reached arbitration eligibility or free agency is a regular practice each spring. Most players will agree to terms at or around the Major League minimum, which is $480,000 this year.
The list of players to have their contract renewed include: Bryan Anderson, Mitchell Boggs, Matt Carpenter, Adron Chambers, Maikel Cleto, Allen Craig, Tony Cruz, Daniel Descalso, Brandon Dickson, Chuckie Fick, Sam Freeman, David Freese, Tyler Greene, Mark Hamilton, Jon Jay, Erik Komatsu, Pete Kozma, Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino, Adam Reifer, Shane Robinson, Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez.
The Cardinals' flagship radio station KMOX (AM 1120) is scheduled to broadcast 16 of St. Louis' Grapefruit League games, beginning with Monday's opener against the Marlins. From March 10 through the end of spring, all weekend games will also feature a pregame show 20 minutes prior to the start time. The full radio broadcast schedule is here.
Manager Mike Matheny said that there could be value in resolving the second base competition before the very end of spring, but he did not commit to doing so. The biggest benefit in naming a second baseman sooner rather than later would be that the winner of the job could get extensive time playing in the middle infield alongside Rafael Furcal during games.
Though almost all of Skip Schumaker's work so far this spring has been at second base, he will get a sufficient amount of outfield work during Grapefruit League play. Because Schumaker has so much previous experience in the outfield, there is no urgency to get him that many repetitions there during workouts.
The Cardinals have still not announced when Adam Wainwright will make his first Grapefruit League appearance of the spring. He is expected to throw at least one more live batting practice session before that start.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.