Cardinals lose Sunday, but the kids continue to impress

Posted by Scott Wuerz on March 16, 2014 

Remember just a couple of weeks ago when it seemed that St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong couldn't buy a base hit?

Neither can he.

Wong continued his hot hitting Sunday with a single and a walk in three plate appearances Sunday in a 10-4 loss against the New York Mets. Wong is batting .345 for the spring after going hitless in his first 10 times to the dish. Since then he has 10 hits in 19 at-bats, a .526 average.

More importantly, getting the pressure off has allowed Wong to be aggressive and play his game.

It seemed a few days ago like the Cardinals would have to consider sending Wong to Class AAA Memphis to regain his confidence. Now he seems firmly back in the Birds' plans.

A guy who wasn't in the big league plans of manager Mike Matheny when camp started is outfielder Stephen Piscotty. But he's continuing to hit his way into consideration. With a 1-for-2 day with a pair of bases on balls, Piscotty is batting .360 with six runs batted in.

Piscotty doesn't seem likely to make the big league club out of spring training. But he definitely seems like he might be scheduled for arrival sometime in 2014. At this point, Piscotty might be pushing Oscar Taveras for the next available outfielder job.

On Sunday Piscotty bailed starting pitcher Adam Wainwright out of a first inning jam with a diving catch into the right field corner that earned a standing ovation from the Roger Dean Stadium crowd. It's hard to imagine Taveras, with his range potentially limited by his bad ankle, covering that sort of ground.

Taveras ought to concentrate on getting that ankle healthy enough to run in centerfield. Because Matt Holliday in inked in the line-up in left field through at least 2017 and Piscotti seems tabbed for right. That's bad news for Matt Adams who is hitting .310 this spring. He could lose his job to Allen Craig who might need to move back to his station at first base to make room for Piscotty.

And if all that doesn't make the St. Louis outfield picture crowded enough, Randal Grichuck had a big day Sunday.

He was 2-for-3 at the plate including a sharp double over the Mets left fielder's head. Grichuk is hitting .267 for the spring and has impressed in his limited playing time.

Wainwright gave up seven hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings of work against New York. Those hits included an infield squib that should have been an out and a wind-blown towering pop up that went just over the left field wall or a home run. On another day, that ball seemed like it might very well be an easy out. And that would have taken two runs off the board.

Most of the damage was done against St. Louis relievers Keith Butler, Scott McGregor and Seth Maness. 

Butler gave up three earned runs on four hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning. McGregor gave up two runs on two hits in one inning and Maness surrendered two runs on four hits.

The Cardinals play Monday in Ft. Meyers against the Boston Red Sox.

 

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