03/28/12 7:15 PM ET
Greene looks likely to win second-base job
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
In Wednesday's lineup, which looked like the one manager Mike Matheny is expected to use for the season opener, Tyler Greene's name was eighth, and next to his name was the second base designation.
Before Grapefruit League games even began, the Cardinals explained that they'd give Greene more playing time at second than Skip Schumaker or Daniel Descalso -- the other two candidates -- because Greene lacked experience at the position. That held true early, and the fact that it remains the same this late in camp suggests that the Cardinals want to see him start the year at second.
Greene started at second again on Wednesday, marking his ninth start there since March 16. During that same span, Descalso has made just one start at second, mostly bouncing around to play short and third. Schumaker is out of the mix for now after injuring his right oblique.
Still, the Cardinals have refrained from officially naming Greene their starter.
"[We're] not necessarily [going] to put a title or label on [a particular] guy," Matheny said. "I think we have the confidence in both guys that are going to be put out there. That's a good spot to be in. That's what we were hoping to get to -- get Tyler the exposure and then hope that Danny would be right where [he] is. We've seen both."
Greene's performance, both on the offensive and defensive ends, has been a mixed bag. He has flashed impressive defensive range and showed improvement on his double-play turns, but he has also committed a team-high four errors.
Offensively, he has watched the hits fall with more regularity after a tough first two weeks at the plate. He had another two hits, including a home run, on Wednesday to bump his spring average to .275. He has 11 hits in his last 25 at-bats.
"The player that believes it even when things aren't going exactly how you want it to, those are the ones that separate themselves," Matheny said. "He needs to get some more of that in him. I think success at this level breeds that, and until you have a little bit of success at the big league level, you're always going to be doubting yourself. That's something we'd like to see him get past."
Wainwright aims to smooth out some kinks
JUPITER, Fla. -- Following an outing in which his command was off and his velocity down, Adam Wainwright pegged an inconsistent delivery as the culprit for both. And though it's not a long-term concern, Wainwright expressed relief that he would have one more outing to work out those kinks before he makes his regular-season debut.
"I'd like to see some good adjustments made between my next start and go out and feel my delivery where it should be and how it's been," said Wainwright, who allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 9-5 win over the Tigers. "Today just wasn't a good day, all the way around. That's OK. It's Spring Training. As long as adjustments are made, I'll grow from this."
Wainwright's postgame assessment was similar to the one he offered following the second of his now five Grapefruit League outings. In that start, against the Mets, and in this one, he struggled to get the timing down with his delivery. His body often got too far in front of his arm, and he found himself not following straight through toward the catcher.
The latter issue has been a specific focus this spring. In the past, Wainwright ended his motion to the left side of the mound. He has worked these past several weeks to correct that, believing that a straighter delivery will allow for more "zip and bite," as he explained it, on the ball.
"If I'm staying back over the [pitching] rubber and driving the ball down, that velocity will go back up where it needs to be and you'll see me down in the zone better," he said. "The games so far that I've been really sharp, which has been most of the games, are the games that I'm really taking my delivery toward home plate, taking it toward the catcher and not falling off the left side."
He's had plenty of those good games, too. Wainwright entered Wednesday's start not having allowed an earned run in 14 spring innings. He extended that string to 16 before surrendering three third-inning runs. His fastball sat constantly around 87-88 mph throughout the afternoon.
"I think that would be expected," manager Mike Matheny said of Wainwright having a subpar spring start. "What wouldn't be expected are all the outings up to this point. He competes and thinks his way through things when he doesn't have his best stuff."
This was Wainwright's final appearance in Grapefruit League play, but he will make one more start before his April 7 outing against the Brewers. He is expected to pitch in a Minor League game next Monday, the same day that part of the club will be in Springfield, Mo., for an exhibition.
"I need another one to go out there and make some good quality adjustments, make some good quality pitches to get back to where I want it to be," Wainwright said. "Usually, my delivery is pretty sound, and my arm has to work its way into shape. This year my arm has been strong and ready and my delivery has had to work its way into shape. But that's why we have Spring Training."
Jaime Garcia pitched into the seventh inning of a Triple-A game on Tuesday, St. Louis' scheduled off-day. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. He did not walk a batter, and he struck out seven. By pitching in a Minors game, Garcia was able to stay on his normal pitching schedule.
The organization's third annual "Cardinals Care 6K" has been scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 16. A one-mile fun run has also been added to the event. All participants in the 6K race, which ends inside Busch Stadium, will receive a T-shirt and medal. All runners must raise at least $75 by Sept. 9, with all proceeds going to Cardinals Care, the organization's philanthropic arm. Top fund-raisers will be recognized prior to a Cardinals game. For more information and/or to register, visit www.cardinals.com/6K.
The Cardinals executed another double steal on Wednesday, and it was the fourth time that a player has taken home on the attempt. This time it was Shane Robinson, who scored from third as Erik Komatsu swiped second.
"You work on it, so you might as well try it," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think it's just keeping the throttle down when you see opportunities."
Minor League first baseman Xavier Scruggs hit three home runs -- one to each part of the field -- in a Double-A Spring Training game on Tuesday. Scruggs, who hit 21 homers in 117 games with high Class A Palm Beach last season, finished the game with four RBIs.
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.