photo: John Mozeliak, Mike Shildt (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports)
On Wednesday, July 1, St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt separately met with the media via Zoom for approximately 30 and 40 minutes, respectively.
The primary focus is the team’s Summer Camp, which officially opens on Friday, July 3 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, however other topics were also fair game.
My initial summary of their remarks will be on minor league topics, with major league ones following, related to Summer Camp and the regular season.
Springfield – Summer Camp South
The SCS roster will be announced in 7-to-10 days. They are waiting to see all the Summer Camp test results first.
SCS may not open at full strength (60 pool players minus those in St. Louis). The organization may maintain some roster flexibility to add players later for (virus or injury) protection.
If the Cards do not expect the players will be needed for MLB protection, 2020 draftees could be among those invited to SCS.
A large Summer Camp roster reduction from the initial 45 players is expected on July 11 or 12. Those cut players (optioned out or reassigned to the minors) will join the new invitees arriving in Springfield for SCS.
Jose Oquendo as well as minor league pitching and hitting coordinators Tim Leveque and Russ Steinhorn are part of the Summer Camp staff, along with all of Shildt’s current coaches. All are in St. Louis.
The three coaches named will relocate to Springfield prior to SCS opening, with Oquendo in charge. Johnson City manager Roberto Espinoza will also be a coach for SCS and Memphis’ Dan Martin will be the trainer.
Asked about additional minor league development opportunities in 2020 for a larger group of players, Mozeliak admitted that he has “no good or great answers” at this time and deferred the matter until the MLB team gets going.
St. Louis – Summer Camp
No players are expected to opt out of the season. Except for those on the MLB charter flight from the Dominican Republic, which has landed in Miami, all players have reported to St. Louis.
Elehuris Montero must have been on that plane as the 40-man roster third baseman has been added to the Summer Camp roster, the 45th invitee. The 21-year old is The Cardinal Nation’s fourth-ranked prospect.
The Summer Camp schedule is 19 days in duration with one day off and an optional participation day before the opener.
The Summer Camp roster will take its first live batting practice on Friday, July 3. All pitchers will go through one live BP before pitching in an intrasquad or sim(ulated) game.
There will be eight intrasquad games starting on Wednesday, July 8. They will be played competitively with separate dugouts and lineups. There is a Red group and a Blue group starting with workouts. There will be no Summer Camp games against other organizations.
Workouts are planned for the mornings to give them weather flexibility, but will shift to evenings on the 11th day of camp to prepare for a regular-season routine.
Per directive in a new MLB memo, players going onto the new COVID-19 related injury list will not be named.
St. Louis – Regular season
The regular season schedule is expected to be released early next week. Because there are no day of the week preferences with no fans in attendance, Mozeliak said he had no concerns with the first draft he was shown. He thinks the delay is related to lining up game times for television.
While the Cardinals leaders were meeting with the media, the following news was floated. It was not discussed with Mozeliak and Shildt.
Cardinals will be White Sox' opponent in Field of Dreams game
(Via Sun-Times) https://t.co/fBxxFaNVmx
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) July 1, 2020
Shildt expects to open the season with 16 pitchers and 14 position players, with 17/13 a possibility.
If the road team wants to add an in-trip roster replacement that plays at a different position from one of the three-man taxi squad members (one of whom is required to be a catcher), the team may instead play a man short until it returns home (and a different player can be added to replace the injured one). In other words, during a road trip, only taxi squadders are eligible to be activated.
The schedule is such with off-days that a six-man rotation will not be needed. There also will not be directly specified tandem pitching pairings. The focus will be on creating the best situations to try to win each individual game.
The five starting pitchers are expected to be named after the first week of camp. Shildt mentioned positives for Miles Mikolas, Carlos Martinez and Kwang-Hyun Kim. That upcoming announcement should include a formal reaffirmation of Jack Flaherty as the Opening Day starter.
Jordan Hicks will be on a rehab program both in Summer Camp and when the regular season opens. That suggests the 23-year old will be placed on the 10-day injured list by Opening Day. The right-hander had no real setbacks, but the team is showing “patience.” per Shildt. Hicks threw a side session on Tuesday and played catch on Wednesday. The manager would not speculate when in August he expects the closer to be ready to be activated.
Related article for members of The Cardinal Nation
For members, I laid out my best MLB backfill “Summer Camp South” roster, my best prospect-only SCS roster and finished with my blended prediction.
I updated this slightly based on Wednesday’s news. With Montero moving up to St. Louis, my projected 16-man SCS roster correspondingly drops to 15. I also moved a pitcher up from SCS in my 30-man Opening Day roster prediction to replace Hicks.
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