All of the players have reported and workouts have begun in preparation for the 2018 season. The Cardinals will open their spring exhibition season on Friday and the regular season six weeks from Thursday.
Here are some stories to come out of the first week of camp:
Carlos Martinez enters the 2018 season as the Cardinals’ top starting pitcher, a name he has maintained since 2015. Despite being the best on this staff, Martinez is often lost in the shuffle when it comes to scanning top starters from across the league.
President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak is hopeful that new pitching coach Mike Maddux can help Martinez maximize his potential. Maddux has quite the log of experience; his years (2009-2014) with the Rangers featured work with Colby Lewis and Derek Holland, and he worked with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg while on the Nationals’ staff from 2015 through last year.
Some of my personal favorite stories to annually bloom from spring camps are those of former players working with current players, and the Cardinals have this type of connection as much as any team. Former National League MVP and 2014 Cardinals Hall of Fame inductee Willie McGee has been working with current outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Dexter Fowler. KMOX had coverage of their conversation.
Marcell Ozuna, Dexter Fowler and Willie McGee were working just feet off of the left field foul line today – close enough that we could record their discussions and share part of it with you #STLCards https://t.co/AtLeYDPSra— KMOXSports (@KMOXSports) February 17, 2018
After a breakout 2017, Tommy Pham is in line to be the team’s starting center fielder this year and one of the club’s most important pieces if it is to return to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Joe Trezza of MLB.com (Note: Joe is covering the club while Jenifer Langosch is on maternity leave. Give him a follow!) tweeted a difference Pham noticed this spring. “Mo said I am on the team,” Pham said. This will be Pham’s first time making the club directly out of Spring Training.
Joe also informed us that Matt Carpenter dealing with some back stiffness.
Matt Carpenter is dealing with a stiff back early in camp.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) February 18, 2018
The official Cardinals social media accounts have been very active this spring, posting plenty of photos from camp. A post on Sunday gave us a look at outfielder Tyler O’Neill, St. Louis’ return from the Mariners for left-hander Marco Gonzales. O’Neill is featured in the first photo, with a build that is notably comparable to former Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday.
And like always, Jim Hayes of Fox Sports Midwest got the additional information we all wanted to know: