Cruz working on game calling as he learns from cadre of Cards catchers
By John Bailey
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 24: Tony Cruz #48 of the St. Louis Cardinals and Mitchell Boggs #41 celebrate a 7-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) By Harry How
(BaseballStL) -- Next man up behind the plate in St. Louis is always a tough spot. For Tony Cruz, it's nigh impossible.
The 26-year-old is filling in for the game's best catcher, and he converted to the position. Despite the tall odds, he has held his own in the league- something he credits to having incredible resources to lean on.
"Catchers here in St. Lous take pride in their job. That's what I try to do," he said. "If Yadi's not there I can ask Mike, or Bengie now that we have Bengie."
Cruz has continued to grow in his skill set, and though many observers have been pleasantly surprised by the success, Mike Matheny isn't one of them.
"We had no doubt about what he can do," he said. "He's shown a lot of people that he has the criteria and the characteristics that could allow him to be and everyday catcher. He can control a game, he throws well and he can put together a good at bat."
While praising Cruz's intelligence and athleticism, Matheny did suggest the young backstop needed to work on his game calling; something Cruz says he is trying to learn every day.
"When Yadi's in there, I try to call every pitch he's calling," he said. "Obviously I'm not right all the time but that's my goal- call a similar game to what he's calling."
While he's calling games solo now, his plate presence has picked up. He's hitting .281 with six RBIs and a homer in his last 10 games.