Tuesday night brought a hard-fought loss to the Memphis Redbirds- AAA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals- to finish their brief homestand. Following the loss, Manager Mike Schildt granted me a one-on-one and shared some great stories and praise for the Redbirds.
St. Louis Cardinals’ farm team finds no happy flight after Tuesday night’s loss at AutoZone Park. Tuesday’s loss follows a difficult, extra-innings loss on Monday. Despite facing back-to-back losses, Memphis Manager Mike Schildt (excuse the number of Ms in that statement) allowed me the chance to sit and chat with him.
I was very excited about having the chance to ask Schildt about players such as Tim Cooney, Aledmys Diaz, Jeremy Hazelbaker, and names at Memphis that were of excitement. Let me take you on this wonderful, brief journey that I took with Schildt.
First, I asked Schildt who at Memphis excites him. In great Mo-like responses, Schildt informed me that there are great players in Memphis to watch and about which to be excited. He noted that the offense has bright spots and that he is really proud of the pitching as well.
While he didn’t share names, I’m here to tell you that Jonathan Rodriguez, Carlos Peguero, and Anthony Garcia continue to find ways of smashing the ball including 2, 3, and 2 home runs (respectively). On the pitching side of things, Deck McGuire‘s 2.57 shines in the rotation as does Jeremy Hefner‘s 2.95 ERA returning from Tommy John surgery.
From the pen, Dean Kiekhefer– whom I and the other Redbird Rants writers have showered with praise- holds a Kevin Siegrist 0.00 ERA in 7.2 innings of work. Another pen arm that excites is Ryan Sheriff who holds a 1.04 ERA across 8.2 innings.
These shining spots provide great backups for St. Louis and should the powers-that-be want to seek replacement players, there are certainly options waiting in Memphis.
Speaking of players being sought to replace vacancy spots, Schildt shared with me the great story of Aledmys Diaz’s call-up. According to Schildt, the Redbirds were taking infield practice when the call came. Urged to take the call despite his slight umbrage, Schildt was informed to pull Aledmys so he could catch the flight to Pittsburgh.
Schildt called Aledmys to the plate to inform that he was making his MLB debut. When the team heard the news, they all rushed to congratulate Diaz. Schildt shared with me that he is very proud of the production that Diaz is presenting and said that he is not surprised by this at all.
When asked about Cooney, Schildt shared that there isn’t much of an update right now other than the standard progression of healing. He did share that Cooney is progressing as expected but there is no discernable timetable for return.
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I did ask about rehab paths as it related to Ruben Tejada. Schildt shared that Tejada did not make a stop with Memphis thanks in part to them being on the road in Colorado at the time and the fact that they a night game followed by a day game when Tejada would have made a round with them.
As it relates to the possibility of Jhonny Peralta making a rehab start with Memphis or whether Brayan Pena would spend some time, Schildt was quick to relay that these decisions are made by management but did share that this was part of the job he enjoyed– working with rehabbing professionals and watching them impact and help the younger players.
In regard to helping younger players, Schildt shared that Greg Garcia has been the consummate professional with his assignment to Memphis. He said that Garcia, while disappointed since he wants nothing more than to play for St. Louis, has entered Memphis gracefully, played like a real professional, and is helping to add experience to a young dugout.
In closing, I offer a great deal of thanks to Mike Schildt for talking to me after a loss with such great candor and warmth. That is not often found in a person who just suffered a frustrating, and hard-fought loss. Stay tuned for more information about Memphis and the players supporting the big club down in the Bluff City!