01/20/13 7:50 PM ET
Boggs embraces chance to play in Classic
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
"It is a big deal to me," said Boggs, who was officially named to Team USA's roster last week. "A lot of guys don't want to play in this thing. I do. I'm going to take advantage of it and enjoy it and hopefully be a part of a team that enjoys it."
Aside from representing his country, Boggs is giddy about the chance to pitch for one of his childhood heroes. Greg Maddux -- who spent 11 of his 23 Major League seasons pitching in Atlanta, about two hours from Boggs' home -- is set to be the U.S. pitching coach.
"That was the guy to me, other than Chipper [Jones]," Boggs said. "Maddux was the man. I'm absolutely going to take advantage of being around Greg Maddux. I know his style was probably a little different than what I try to do, but at the same time, that guy is one of the best to ever step on the rubber. I'll absolutely enjoy that."
Dale Murphy, another Braves great, is also on the coaching staff.
Boggs could be absent from Cardinals Spring Training for several weeks, should Team USA advance deep into the Classic. He has the luxury to be away, though, because of job security. For the first time in his career, Boggs prepares to enter the season with a defined role on the Major League team.
"Even when I leave, my focus is going to be on getting myself ready to pitch in April through September and October," Boggs said. "I want to go be a part of Team USA and win that thing. At the same time, I know where my most important business is, and that's with the Cardinals."
DeWitt discusses Cardinals' increasing payroll
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said on Sunday that he envisions the team's payroll increasing over the next few years due mostly to the rising cost of retaining some of the organization's core players.
The Cardinals are likely to open with a payroll of about $115 million in 2013. The club ended '12 with a payroll of about $110 million.
"To maintain the club that we have and do what I think we need to do, there's a good chance," DeWitt said when asked about upping the payroll. "Now, you don't want to just raise it to raise it. But we will have the flexibility to do that if we see opportunities to spend the money wisely."
The payroll will take a sure boost if the Cardinals are able to sign starter Adam Wainwright to a contract extension this year. Wainwright is in the final year of his current deal, and the two sides have both expressed interest in finding a way to ensure that the pitcher stays in St. Louis beyond this season.
The Cardinals are expected to increase dialogue with Wainwright's agent soon.
"He's one of those guys who I was referring to when I said we try to get the kind of players who are competitive, talented and leaders and will do anything for the team and the community," DeWitt said. "You can be sure we'll try to sign him. Whether we'll be able to remains to be seen. But he's the kind of player that we want on the Cardinals.
"These are never easy negotiations when you get up to the level where he is."
DeWitt also commented tangentially on the escalating television deals that are creating a windfall of money for organizations to invest back into the Major League payroll. The result has been a growing financial cost of securing players in free agency and a growing resource cost in acquiring players in trade.
That reality, DeWitt said, just makes drafting and developing talent that much more imperative.
"Some of the contracts out there even for some of the players you wouldn't expect it for, they're a concern," DeWitt said. "It just points out that you better have depth coming, because even to get depth on your club now is expensive. It's a strategic job to get that done. I really like our position today with what we have behind the Major League club. The challenge is to keep bringing that up."
Miller packs on pounds; Westbrook keeps them off
ST. LOUIS -- Scale readings have been at the center of the offseason for both Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller, though the pitchers have been looking for those numbers to go in different directions.
Miller tailored his offseason work a year ago so that he'd lose weight. But what he learned after reporting to Spring Training weighing 204 pounds was that the loss in weight translated to a loss in strength. That body composition was cited by some within the organization for contributing to Miller's early-season struggles.
"I was trying to have a beach body, I guess. I don't know what I was thinking," Miller said of his previous offseason plan. "I'd work out really hard and then I wouldn't really eat -- I'd drink a protein shake and eat a salad. I thought that would be good for me."
Miller has eaten whatever he's wanted to this offseason and currently checks in at his target weight: 223 pounds.
"That was my goal -- to put on weight -- and just try to get bigger and stronger and have a good spring," said Miller, who will compete for a Major League roster spot this spring. "I didn't have a starting pitcher's body last year. That's what I'm trying to get back to."
Westbrook, on the other hand, is mirroring the workout regimen he adopted last year. That includes an exercise and diet program, which help him shed about 20 pounds.
"It worked out so well last year that I thought I would just do it again," Westbrook said. "I ended up gaining a little of that weight back last year. That's kind of my goal this year to make that not happen and keep the same routine throughout the year. That's my goal."
Holliday, Jay put injury issues behind them
ST. LOUIS -- Both Matt Holliday and Jon Jay, bothered by nagging injuries during the 2012 season, said this weekend that they are confident that there are no lingering effects from their respective issues.
Though Holliday never went on the disabled list, he was bothered by back tightness at various times last year. Holliday still insists that "it wasn't that big of a deal," though Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has identified Holliday as one of the players he will be more proactive in sitting in order to reduce the chance of injury this year.
Holliday's winter workout regimen has included therapy and strength exercises that have specifically targeted his lower back.
Jay did have a stint on the DL due to a left shoulder strain sustained when he ran into the outfield wall. Issues with that shoulder lingered for much of the season, though Jay on Sunday declared himself "100 percent."
He had his shoulder looked at by the club's medical staff before heading home for the winter, and everything checked out as it should have. That allowed Jay to then undertake a normal workout program.
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.