The Norman Transcript

Sports

December 18, 2013

Roster moves balance Cardinals lineup

(Continued)

ST. LOUIS —

Last season, lefties neutralized Jon Jay (.220), Matt Adams (.231, no walks) and Daniel Descalso (.183), all left-handed hitters, and righty bat Pete Kozma (.183) also scuffled. Jay moves to bench along with either Descalso or Kozma. Matt Carpenter, the leadoff man last year, and top prospect Oscar Tavares also are left-handed sticks.

“I think we really improved how we look from the right side,” Mozeliak said. “We had to address some things in a very quick manner and I think we did that.”

Thus far, upgrades have not cost the Cardinals any of their young talent.

Even before signing Ellis, Mozeliak said he’d be happy taking the team to spring training. He was especially satisfied given the Cardinals played an extra month.

“I did not think it would happen this quickly,” Mozeliak said.

Ellis said Monday he’d be open to playing elsewhere in the infield and welcomed the possibility of serving as a mentor for Wong. He said Randy Velarde and John Mabry, now the St. Louis hitting coach, were influences when he was a young player.

The Cardinals appear to have enough depth that Tavares, who is coming off ankle surgery, could start next season at Memphis.

“All arrows point to him being ready to go when camp opens, so that’s exciting,” Mozeliak said. “But he hasn’t played in a while.”

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