St. Louis Cardinals rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz will be starting his tenth game of the season tonight as his team is in San Diego to take on the Padres.
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Diaz has hit safely in 11 of his 13 games and as a starter is batting .361 (13-36). The rookie also leads the team with 30 total bases.
But while his offensive game is among the best going in the National League right now, Diaz is also trying to improve the defensive side of his game.
“I’m just working on my feet and my arm and the timing to throw to first base,” shared Diaz, after a recent stint of extra infield under the guidance of David Bell and Bill Mueller. “We’re working at that to get the rhythm and maybe slow the game a little bit.”
Entering Saturday, Diaz had made four errors in 33 total chances.
“That’s what he’s supposed to do,” stated Manager Mike Matheny of the extra work. “Especially if we give him a day, that’s the communication–hey, today’s the day, go get some work. We believe when things don’t feel quite right, we’ve got to figure out a way to get our nose in there and just make it so you have enough repetitions that it’s basically just second nature and you don’t really think about it too much–you just make the play.
“We’re not afraid to go and work some days and usually, those times we try to keep them off the field as far as game speed goes, just so they can put a little extra into their work.”
Diaz is making a point to do so, not just with that session with Bell and Mueller, but on a regular basis.
“Everyday, I come in here early and go through everything,” he explained. “Hitting in the cage, taking a lot more the ground balls and throws to first base. It’s like my routine everyday.”
As a team, the Cardinals already have seven errors at the shortstop position. Last season, Jhonny Peralta made eight miscues the entire season and St. Louis had 11 overall.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 23, 2016