Skip Schumaker was the first guy on the practice field today. He worked for at least an hour with Jose Oquendo, as he tries to learn the second base position.
I watched him take at least 100 ground balls and he handled most of them very well. Schumacker is very quick, and has a powerful arm. I haven't seen him turn any double plays yet, but if he proves he can handle that he could be well on his way to making a serious run at winning that position.
Tony La Russa watched part of the workout, and at one point walked out onto the field and gave Skip a hug. La Russa's actually hugging lots of people today. He hugged Chris Carpenter after watching Carp throw a bullpen session.
Carpenter was throwing pretty hard, no breaking balls yet, but he seemed to have pretty good velocity on his pitches. I counted 25 players in camp today working out. Pitchers and catchers don't have to report until tomorrow, but nearly all of them are here already. Chris Duncan and David Freese are among the prominent position players here early and working out.
I saw Red Schoendienst last night at a restuarant (Abbey Road) near the Cardinals team hotel. Red has been involved in Cardinals spring training every year since 1947. He said he'd be happy to try to play second base again if the team needs him in that capacity. I think he was kidding. He also said he thinks Schumaker has a chance to be a good second baseman if given enough time to develop his skills there.
The weather couldn't be better down here. Low 80's today with a slight breeze. It's suppose to stay nice thru next week. Any Cardinal fans coming down early should be happy to hear that.