Making his first appearance as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko was all smiles as he visited the team’s Winter Warm-Up.

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“I’ve always enjoyed playing here,” said Gyorko. “It’s one of the places I would always circle. I like playing at Busch–I think the fans always bring the best out of you every single day. I’m looking forward to it.”

January 2016-Jed GyorkoAgainst the Cardinals, Gyorko has a career batting average of .342 (25-73) with 5 home runs and 16 runs driven in.

“Every time the guy walked in there, the guy put together a very good at-bat,” said Mike Matheny. “There’s always that shot in the arm when you know you have a guy who can come in and give you those types of at-bats.”

Ironically, his average is actually lower at Busch (.262) with a pair of his homers and nine RBIs coming at the ballpark.

“It’s better than Petco, that’s for sure,” laughed Gyorko. “Any ballpark other than Petco is a little bit better as far as hitters. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, three games in Milwaukee, Cincinnati–those places, it will be welcomed.”

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Coming off the bench, Gyorko has hit .300 (6-20) as a pinch-hitter in his career.

“There’s also something to be said about the other end of the spectrum and I believe Jedd is going to provide us good defense,” added Matheny. “But that potential potent bat to be in there on a continuous basis, to where he’s either going to come off the bench or give a guy a rest. I think taking some of that pressure off our other guys, too, realizing, hey, I’m going to take this day, but this guy is pretty good, too. I think we’re going to be covered.”

Where he plays the most remains to be seen, but Gyorko is comfortable “with anywhere on the infield for the most part” and has played in the past at all four spots, although only once at first base.

“It’s a great opportunity–anytime you join a team that won 100 games, that’s okay,” he said. “I’m just gonna go out and play hard whenever the opportunities come.”

“Our guys want to play all the time, which is how this game should be,” said Matheny. “But I’m learning to believe, especially with some of our guys who have learned the hard way, that you push too far sometimes and it could have some lingering effects. So how could we possibly take advantage of a day here and there to let a Gyorko come in and stay sharp and produce and what that may mean as dividends later.”

photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports, STLBaseballWeekly.com

 

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