04/18/2013 12:20 AM ET
Matheny hoping bunting work pays off
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Disappointed with the overall bunt execution by his club in 2012, manager Mike Matheny entered Spring Training with the directive that all players would increase their bunting work. More early-morning repetitions were integrated into the workout schedule, as were bunting competitions.
Now the Cardinals are being watched.
Asked recently about how critical it is for pitchers to be capable bunters, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle singled out the Cardinals to emphasize his point.
"All you have to do is watch the games the Cardinals play against us," Hurdle said. "When I first got here, I was forewarned we were in bad shape, as far as pitchers handling the bat. We've made incremental progress, but we're still not anywhere where we need to be. We are better, but we still have a lot of room to cover. ... The Cardinals' program is the model for me -- set up early to bunt, show it, pull it back and then react."
After laying down 69 sacrifice bunts in 2012, the Cardinals already have nine through 13 games. Six of those have come from a pitcher. Last year the Cardinals' pitching staff had 36 successful sacrifice bunts, 12 by the now-departed Kyle Lohse.
"We felt like we didn't do as good a job as we could have [last year], and that was really coming from our pitching staff," Matheny said. "They were motivated to be better, and I think they already have been. You can see the approach that they have and the confidence that they have in those situations. They're just taking advantage of that. That's one-ninth of our lineup that has an opportunity to make an impact. We can't just turn those over without a real good effort. They've worked hard and will continue to. They set some high goals with things they wanted to accomplish this year offensively."
Adams gets start a stone's throw from alma mater
PITTSBURGH -- Matt Adams made Slippery Rock (Pa.) University history last season when he became the first player from that Division II baseball program to break into the Major Leagues. On Wednesday he provided another point of pride for the University by making his first career start in Pittsburgh, about 21 miles from campus.
Manager Mike Matheny intends to get Adams at least two starts a week, and he made the series finale against the Pirates one of them. Several fans wearing red shirts with Adams' No. 53 on the back arrived about two hours before first pitch to watch the first baseman take batting practice. Adams expected about 20 family members and friends to be in attendance.
"It will be nice," Adams said, "for them to see me play."
Adams, who grew up in central Pennsylvania, attended a handful of games at PNC Park during the four years he spent playing collegiately in the western part of the state. Adams has been told that Slippery Rock is planning to retire his number.
"We'll see how that process goes," he said. "It's an honor, because there are a lot of good guys who went through that program and played in the Minor Leagues and didn't get the opportunity to play in the Majors."
Although Matheny appreciates the storyline of Adams' return to Pittsburgh, inserting him into the lineup was hardly a gesture to the local folks. In six games this year (four starts), Adams is 11-for-18 with three home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs.
"There's really no secret in the fact that we have to keep him fresh and get him opportunities," Matheny said. "Especially as he's seeing the ball as well as he is right now."
No changes planned for Busch Stadium security
PITTSBURGH -- Monday's bombings near the finish line of the Boston Marathon have led many sports organizations -- including the Cardinals -- to review security measures at ballparks, arenas and stadiums across the country.
Joe Walsh, the Cardinals' director of security, has reached out to the St. Louis office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the city police department and Major League Baseball security representatives to determine whether additional security is recommended at Busch Stadium, according to team spokesman Ron Watermon.
Because an increased threat-level warning has not been issued by the government, the Cardinals do not anticipate making any security changes.
"The safety of our guests and our employees is our No. 1 priority," Watermon said. "This event in Boston has caused us to look at what we do and forced us to ask the question of whether there is more that we should do."
Patrons entering all National Football League venues are subject to patdowns or wand searches as part of a league-wide security measure, and most National Hockey League arenas follow those same procedures. That's not the case across MLB.
Since the attacks of Sept.11, the Cardinals have inspected all bags that fans bring into Busch Stadium. The organization permits fans to bring in food, beverage and soft-sided coolers. That is not expected to change. Watermon added that the Cardinals have a large contingent of secondary police officers within the ballpark and have trained event staff to look for potential threats.
• Matheny has been encouraged by the mobility Carlos Beltran has shown on the basepaths and in the outfield. Beltran opened the season bothered by a fractured right small toe.
• Daniel Descalso made his second start of the season at shortstop on Wednesday night.
• The Cardinals are slated to face, in order, the following starters in their upcoming four-game series at Philadelphia: Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Kyle Kendrick. Though Shane Robinson's first start of the season was washed out on Tuesday, he'll likely make a start against the left-handed Hamels or Lee.
• Top prospect Oscar Taveras connected for his first Triple-A home run on Wednesday in Memphis' 8-3 win over New Orleans. He finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs.
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.