(Jupiter, FL) Pete Kozma will start today’s game at second base for the St. Louis Cardinals, but manager Mike Matheny plans to move him to the outfield as well.

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“Pete Kozma is as pure an athlete–you just watch him,” stated Matheny.  “Watch him walk across the clubhouse, he’s bouncing. His quick-twitch and just his reaction–he’s fun to watch. I was thinking that yesterday watching him play shortstop. He’s an athlete and he’s got enough speed too to cover, make up for maybe not having great jumps and instincts. Imagine the more you watch him out there, the more you’d be impressed with what he can do.”

Matheny also shared Kozma and the others in competition for the utility spot are getting sized up for thumb-guards and are close to getting their lesson behind the plate.

“I had to wear it probably the last five seasons of my career once my tendon got so stretched,” said Matheny, who will not allow the players to catch without the guard. “The only time you see him in pain a lot of times, Yadi, is when he gets that one foul ball and it’s hard to explain how bad that hurts. It’s just from too many times that ligament getting stretched and stretched and you’re vulnerable. I don’t want that to happen to one of these guys who’s just stepping in on a short term basis.”

The catching work will take place in drills–not during a game.

Here’s the Cardinals starting lineup…

Matt Carpenter, 3B

Jason Heyward, RF

Matt Holliday, LF

Matt Adams, DH

Jhonny Peralta, SS

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Yadier Molina, C

Mark Reynolds, 1B

Tommy Pham, CF

Pete Kozma, 2B

(Lance Lynn, P)

FIRST START FOR LYNN

Lance Lynn will make his first start of the Grapefruit League with Tim Cooney first in line to take the mound afterwards. Nick Greenwood, Dean Kiekhefer, Mitch Harris, Mike Mayers, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Chris Perry, and Andrew Morales are also available out of the bullpen.

Perry and Morales have been in camp for Spring Training Early Program (STEP) this spring.

WAINO-LACKEY LIVE BP’s

–A starting date is getting closer for John Lackey, who is scheduled to throw to hitters this morning. There are no issues with the pushed back start date for Lackey, rather a plan by mutual design to allow for his normal routine of building his pitch count heading into the regular season.

Adam Wainwright will also face hitters.

“They should be going off and on,” said Matheny. “Another step closer, just kind of part of the program and looking to get them to where they need to be.”

 

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