Ellis arrives at camp seeking championship
JUPITER, Fla. -- With Mark Ellis' arrival on Monday, the Cardinals officially have all 39 players from their 40-man roster in camp a day before the club is scheduled to hold its first full-squad workout. Manager Mike Matheny will address the group as a whole before that workout takes place on Tuesday.
After making stops in Oakland, Colorado and Los Angeles over an 11-year Major League career, Ellis enters the National League Central mix -- and Florida's Grapefruit League -- for the first time. He also comes knowing that little is guaranteed to him, aside from what he sees as a strong chance to chase a World Championship.
Ellis, who was on the Dodgers' NL Championship Series team that lost to St. Louis last October, has never played in the World Series.
"It would mean a lot," Ellis said. "That's why I'm here. You look at the opportunities presented in front of you, and I thought this was my best chance. You can't predict who is going to have a great season, who is going to have a good team, but you can narrow it down to teams that you think are going to have the best chance."
The Cardinals have been open about their desire to give Kolten Wong regular opportunities at second base, though manager Mike Matheny prefers to consider everything a competition right now. That means that Ellis can still make a push for playing time.
"I want Mark to come out and just do his thing, get ready the way he knows how, and [we'll] tell Kolten that there is going to be an opportunity for you to go out and compete also," Matheny said. "We've talked relentlessly with this staff that, 'Let's not commit to what we think it has to look like.' Let's let these guys go play this game and it'll make it obvious for itself. There are going to be opportunities for Kolten, and there are going to be opportunities for Mark as well."
Ellis packed only one glove in his bag of gear, though that does not mean he will necessarily play only one position. While the bulk of his spring work will come at second base -- a position at which Ellis has made 1,263 Major League starts -- the Cardinals will also consider getting him some groundballs at short and third.
Ellis has not played either of those positions regularly since ascending to the Majors.
"It's been a while since I've played some other positions, but it's something I feel I can do," Ellis said. "Wherever they want me to be is where I'm going to be. I don't care where it is. I just want to be out on the field helping this team win ballgames."