The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 18, 2013

Roster moves balance Cardinals lineup

ST. LOUIS — Though Mark Ellis got a contract that pays starter money, the St. Louis Cardinals are planning for rookie Kolten Wong to be the regular second baseman next year.

Wong batted just .132 in 59 at-bats and was embarrassed in the World Series when he got picked off first base to end Game 5. He was a first-round pick in 2011 and climbed the system quickly, batting .303 last year at Triple-A Memphis with 20 steals in 21 attempts. He showed a bit of power, too, with 10 home runs.

“I don’t think you look at the sample size and try to judge that talent,” general manager John Mozeliak said Tuesday. “We realize what he’s capable of doing.

“Obviously, spring training has to happen,” Mozeliak added. “But our goal was to give Kolten a very good opportunity to play.”

Mozeliak said Ellis’ one-year, $5.25 million deal was a product of competitive bidding for a player who’ll help balance the lineup. The 36-year-old Ellis adds another right-handed bat to a team that was vulnerable against lefties and got shut down twice by Boston’s Jon Lester in the World Series.

“I certainly think you have better odds today than you did yesterday,” the GM said. “Everybody scratched their heads when we faced left-handed pitching with no definitive answers.”

Ellis said Monday he turned multiyear offers for a chance to win a World Series with St. Louis.

“Part of that’s market-driven,” Mozeliak said. “Frankly, I’m fortunate we got him.”

The Cardinals batted .280 against right-handers last season, third-best in the majors, but were 27th-best with a .238 average against lefties.

Ellis is a right-handed hitter and could platoon with the left-handed hitting Wong. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who got a four-year free-agent deal, and center fielder Peter Bourjos, acquired from the Angels, also bat from the right side.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Mercury not thinking streak

    Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks’ 18-game winning streak. To equal that mark, the Mercury need to win two more games, starting with defending ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014