JUPITER, Fla. • The Cardinals stole just 57 bases last year and weren't all that efficient at it either as they were caught 39 times. So it is that new manager Mike Matheny wants to emphasize that aspect of the game this spring.
The Cardinals don't have a lot of speed although infielder Tyler Greene, who stole a team high 11 bases in 11 attempts last year, could be more of a factor in that department if he plays more.
New outfielder Carlos Beltran, who, with 293 steals in 334 attempts, has one of the best basestealing marks of any major league player at 85 percent, also could help the Cardinals' basestealing become more of an issue. Beltran arrived in camp early this afternoon.
Matheny said, "If you have some speed, show it. That's going to be the philosophy. If guys have speed in their repertoire, they certainly need to display it and improve on it and take advantage of some of the special instructors we have in here.
"And we're going to have some early and some late (basestealing) sessions as well."
Willie McGee, noted speedster from three Cardinals World Series teams in the 1980s, is expected in camp on Thursday as a special instructor who would offer baserunning tips. Hall of Famer Lou Brock, who stole a National League record of 938 bases, will be here as usual and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, who had 580 steals, also is expected in camp later.
"I do believe there are some guys in here who can steal some bases," said Matheny. "Now do you take a whole team and all of a sudden try to turn them into basestealers? No, you play the hand that you're dealt. Why force that issue?
"But we've got some guys who it's going to be fun to watch use their instincts this spring."