ST. LOUIS -- With each intrasquad game in Summer Camp, the Cardinals have added typical gameday features to get ready for the regular season. Crowd noise has become more prominent. Umpires were added early last week. And on Sunday, the national anthem was sung -- by No. 12 prospect Jake
ST. LOUIS -- With each intrasquad game in Summer Camp, the Cardinals have added typical gameday features to get ready for the regular season. Crowd noise has become more prominent. Umpires were added early last week. And on Sunday, the national anthem was sung -- by No. 12 prospect Jake Woodford.
The rookie right-hander was doing conditioning drills with Miles Mikolas about 30 minutes before Sunday’s intrasquad game when he found out he was going to be handed the microphone. Mikolas had mentioned his plan to manager Mike Shildt on Saturday, but Woodford know nothing about it until running next to Mikolas on Sunday afternoon.
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“He was like, ‘You know what, Woody? You’re going to sing the national anthem before the intrasquad,’” Woodford said. “I was like, ‘OK, I guess I’m singing the national anthem before the intrasquad.’ Just kind of one of those rookie things, but it was all in good fun.”
Woodford practiced once to make sure he was on pace before heading out to the field. Some coaches stood on the line as they would for games, while some players stopped warming up and turned toward the flag. Woodford got a round of applause (and some good-natured laughter) from his teammates after he finished, as Mikolas happily took the microphone from him walking into the dugout.
“Singing is not my strong suit,” Woodford said. “I was just worried about getting through it. Not messing up has got to count for something, right?”
Offense picks up against Flaherty
A lineup full of mostly regulars was able to beat Opening Day starter Jack Flaherty in Sunday’s intrasquad with a surge of offense aided by the Cardinals’ intrasquad rules. Before an extra-innings simulation changed the score to 4-4, Cardinals Red led, 7-2. The team was given runs in two innings because of the team’s rolling-inning rules -- Flaherty hit his pitch count before getting three outs -- but long at-bats are part of what the Cards' offense wants to do against opposing hitters.
“Elite offenses get pitches in the zone and have long, tough at-bats,” Shildt said. “Doesn’t mean we can’t do damage early in the count, because we clearly can. You saw Carp [Matt Carpenter] hit a bullet early in his last at-bat. But the ability to work guys and go deep, and the ability to get guys in the strike zone to put good swings on good pitches for us to hit is really the overall concept of what we’re doing.”
Carpenter hit his second home run of Summer Camp in the first inning, a 390-foot shot to the home bullpen. In the third inning, right fielder Lane Thomas led off with a triple, Carpenter walked and Paul Goldschmidt singled to score Thomas. Paul DeJong lined a pitch up the middle for a two-run double, and the inning ended with one out. Flaherty got 10 outs across five innings, allowed four earned runs and struck out three across 92 pitches (52 strikes).
“Some days, we’ll have to have at-bats like that today, and other days we’ll be more aggressive early in the count,” DeJong said. “It’s just about what that guy’s showing on a particular day. And today it was Jack struggling with his fastball command. So we were getting deep in counts and trying to hit balls down the middle, whether it was the slider or fastball.”
Mikolas, Martínez slated for exhibition
Mikolas and Carlos Martínez will pitch in Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Royals at Busch Stadium. Shildt said that Mikolas will likely start. The Cardinals hope the two can cover the entire game, but they will have relievers ready if needed.
FOX Sports Midwest will televise the game, which will start at 3:05 p.m. CT.
• Daniel Ponce de Leon felt a slight spasm in his neck/shoulder area during Sunday’s intrasquad, but he was able to work through it after a mound visit from Shildt, pitching coach Mike Maddux and head trainer Adam Olsen. Shildt said it was not anything that will prevent him from moving forward or keeping on schedule.
• Adam Wainwright will throw a four-inning simulated game on Monday evening, followed by Seth Elledge and Rob Kaminsky, two pitchers coming up from the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., throwing three innings. The Cards will play an eight- to nine-inning intrasquad game Tuesday before Wednesday’s exhibition.
Anne Rogers covers the Royals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.