JUPITER, Fla. – Within the first minute of his first press availability on the first official day of spring training, Cardinals manager Mike Shildt was told about the biting, frigid weather back in St. Louis, and he mentioned he had heard about another forecast.
“I understand St. Louis has a lot of warm and fuzzy even in cold temperatures,” the manager said, potentially grinning behind his mask. “For a lot of reasons, including Nolan.”
Pitchers and catchers are going through physicals Wednesday morning at the team’s facility at Roger Dean Stadium. Large white tents have been erected to cover outdoor areas for meetings, outdoor areas for testing, outdoor areas for lounging, outdoor areas to work out, and outdoor areas to do everything but the few things done in the actual clubhouse, like shower and dress. In addition to the parade of pitchers and catchers scheduled to report today, the Cardinals have added a handful of position players to the mix for an early start to their workouts.
Yes, Nolan Arenado has arrived.
Arenado got to Florida on Monday and began the two-day quarantine required for the intake process. He and Jack Flaherty were two of the players who arrived that day.
Shildt said the Cardinals put Arenado and other position players through the same intake process as pitchers and catchers so they could participate in workouts. Paul Goldschmidt had already been at the facility working out, as had Paul DeJong. Shildt also mentioned that outfielders Lane Thomas, Tyler O’Neill and Justin Williams are present and will be part of the workouts in the coming days.
“We’ve had (them) go in the intake process with the pitchers and catchers so they can clear and go in a separate workout,” Shildt said. “Get the groundballs with (Jose) Oquendo and Stubby (Clapp).”
And they will also hit in the cage with coach Jeff Albert.
The Cardinals shared a photo of Arenado's No. 28 jersey hanging at his locker in the main clubhouse on Monday.
John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said the only member of the pitching staff that he has not seen cleared or present for the start of camp is Johan Oviedo. The young righthander returned to his home in Cuba for the last extended stretch away from the team.
The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is set for Thursday, though some activities will happen on the field Wednesday. The first full-squad workout is Monday on the back fields of Roger Dean Stadium. They are not open to the public. The Cardinals have two off days scheduled (March 6 and March 21), and the other open days on their 24-game schedule will be used for workouts or scrimmages. The Cardinals also will have to create B-games and scrimmages on the back fields to find innings for pitchers.
After describing the new white tents that dot the complex near the clubhouse and the new use for old features like the six-pack of bullpen mounds right outside the clubhouse, Shildt said the goal is to be outside, outside, outside as much as possible to meet coronavirus protocols and minimize traffic in the tightly packed clubhouse building.