photo: John Mozeliak via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
After a public silence of four days, St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak met with the media on Thursday evening via Zoom. A summary of what was covered follows.
Another positive test
A member of the staff who earlier had inconclusive results tested positive. The exposure was traced back to the team’s return to St. Louis from Milwaukee. It was not a surprise.
The current overall COVID count is 10 Cardinals players and eight staff members.
The rest of the organization has had four consecutive days of negative tests (taken Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). “This is encouraging.” The last two days, he felt like they could return. Everyone will continue daily testing at least through the road trip and probably longer.
Two new coaches
Coaches Jose Oquendo (third base) and Roberto Espinoza are moving up to St. Louis’ staff from Springfield. When asked if a Cardinals coach had opted out, Mozeliak declined to answer, saying the discussions were private but may come out later.
The coach to opt out is Willie McGee, reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday, August 14.
Another IL move
Pitcher Austin Gomber is joining the last three positive players in a move to the injured list (Austin Dean, Ryan Helsley and Lane Thomas). The left-hander was identified as being at risk, but has not tested positive. The move was a precautionary one. Gomber “can throw tomorrow” and potentially be activated “early next week”.
Five new additions
Four players have been added to the 40-man roster and one other already on the roster, pitcher Ricardo Sanchez, will all be joining the team in Chicago. The four roster additions are relief pitchers Rob Kaminsky and Seth Elledge, first baseman John Nogowski and outfielder Dylan Carlson. Sanchez will serve as the 29th active player allowed for double-headers.
Mozeliak noted that the five are “in a good spot to come and compete”. That is important right now. “Good to add fresh bodies.”
Regarding Carlson’s role specifically, Mozeliak said, “I would imagine he will play, just like I stated all along.”
(The revised rules for 2020 enable teams the option of taking COVID IL players off the 40-man roster and excluding them from the 60-man player pool, but they are not required to do so. For that reason, the actual details of these rosters are unclear currently. I presume three players were removed from the 40-man roster, which had been at 39, and at least two from the 60-man pool. Which ones are the open question. In the meantime, TCN’s Roster Matrix denotes 62 and 43, respectively, pending clarification.)
In reviewing the type of roster changes, all made with internal players, Mozeilak drew a distinction between the Cardinals and the Marlins, noting “our depth is a lot different from them”. Even after all the changes, “I still feel pretty good about our roster.” All moves were made within the established rules.
The up-to-five-man taxi squad for the road trip will be disclosed “in the next few days”. Based on prior announcements, one is expected to be catcher Jose Godoy and pitcher Sanchez another.
Return of others not immediate
The first group of seven players who initially tested positive, including Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong and Carlos Martinez, are not close to a return to the active roster and it is “very unlikely” they will join the team in Chicago. Mozeliak noted they must first pass two negatives and show they have antibodies. In the next 2-3 days, we “might see some” of them, but they “haven’t been doing anything” so they would need to get into playing shape first.
Three recruits to Springfield
The Cardinals are adding pitcher Bryan Dobzanski, infielder Kramer Robertson and catcher Pedro Pages to their alternate camp in Springfield, MO. All have passed intake testing and are practicing. (Pages was previously disclosed by Goold.)
Derek Shore is writing about all of the players mentioned above in further detail. That separate article is now available here at The Cardinal Nation.
The travel plans
All 41 individuals who were quarantined and are traveling to Chicago will be driving there in separate rental cars in a “rolling schedule” on Friday. All who were not exposed, primarily those from Springfield, will be riding up in a bus.
The players will work out in groups of no more than two players at the Sox’ park on Friday. The first time the team will be together will be on Saturday.
The revised game schedule
Mozeliak would not comment on schedule details beyond the movement of Friday’s game to Saturday as part of a twin bill. The team “could have tried to play” on Friday, but the extra day was recommended by the Cardinals medical staff to give the team more separation time and the White Sox agreed.
“The confidence to play is real” and they are “excited about that”.
Starting pitchers will be Adam Wainwright in Game 1, with the second game of Saturday’s twin bill to be a bullpen game. Dakota Hudson will take the ball on Sunday.
The PBO said to look for an MLB schedule announcement on Friday. Later, Mozeliak acknowledged the possibility of the Cardinals playing 10 doubleheaders, noting the challenge will be to keep fresh arms and keep the roster moving.
Further, Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will play three doubleheaders just ahead in Chicago. They will be Saturday at the White Sox and Monday and Wednesday at the Cubs.
The extra Saturday game makes up Friday’s postponed contest and the other two replace two of the three postponed games in St. Louis on the August 7-9 weekend. Overall, St. Louis would be playing eight games in five days in the Windy City – from Saturday through Wednesday. The Cardinals move to Cincinnati for four days starting on Thursday.
Mozeliak noted the “schedule is daunting” and it will “not be easy”, but if the team clicks, they will be competitive. Considering this to be a “second chance” at the season. Everyone aware of this. “Expectations will be high.” Won’t tolerate mistakes (in adhering to protocols). Not upset, but with fewer days remaining, must set bar even higher than three weeks ago.
Full roster detail at The Cardinal Nation
To view the two 2020 rosters and to track the status of the Cardinals’ 60-man pool, 40-man roster as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.
Detailed team rosters for the entire system can be accessed via the red menu column at the top left (see “ROSTERS/PLAYERS/MOVES”).
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