02/17/09 6:05 PM EST
Cards open full-squad workouts
La Russa, Schoendienst speak to full complement of players
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Manager Tony La Russa gave the squad a welcome speech before work began, and Hall of Famer and franchise icon Red Schoendienst also spoke.
"This is not an organization that's searching for a style of play," La Russa said. "There are so many similarities to Red and Stan [Musial's] day, and then [Lou] Brock, [Bob] Gibson and [Mike] Shannon, then you talk about Ozzie [Smith] and Willie [McGee] and Whitey [Herzog]. We don't run as much as they do, but as far as the way you approach the competition, do things right and play hard."
Players took batting practice in full groups, with National League MVP Albert Pujols and top Draft pick Brett Wallace among those drawing the eyes of interested onlookers. Coaches ran drills on bunting, situational hitting, reading balls off the bat and baserunning.
It all added up to a normal day of work, the first of an eight-day cram session before games get rolling. The Cardinals start their Grapefruit League schedule a week from Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.