JUPITER, Fla. — The Cardinals president of baseball operations channeled his inner Matrix to avoid a line drive during batting practice on Friday at spring camp.
Sporting slacks and a button up with a sweater tied over his shoulder, John Mozeliak strode onto one of the back fields as the Cardinals' contingent of catchers took turns taking some swings. With Matt Wieters at the dish, Mozeliak crossed the first base foul line and headed toward the protective screen in shallow center field, next to which a hoard of baseballs had piled up.
Somebody was going to have to pick them up; why not Mo?
He ran into a slight detour on the way, though, as batting practice didn't halt for the executive's stroll onto the playing surface. Wieters continued to swing at the pitches he was thrown; with Mozeliak in the general area where a second baseman might stand, the veteran catcher nearly connected—with the boss man.
Mozeliak took a quick skip forward and arched his back a bit to avoid the line drive, which sailed behind him into right-center field.
Crisis averted. But just how close had Wieters come to disaster?
"I knew we had plenty of room," Wieters said of the hit that nearly caused Mo's demise. "Just enough to give him a little sweat."
The players around the batting cage had a good laugh over it as Mozeliak jokingly gave a threatening point in Wieters' direction in the aftermath of the mayhem. His feat of athleticism behind him, Mo completed his arduous journey and began tidying up the field.
It was an appreciated moment of levity to break up the monotony of spring practices.
"Hey, this organization's all about everybody's for everybody," Wieters said. "So everybody is free game, everybody also respects everybody. It's a good mix of fun and also getting the job done."
Mozeliak was a good sport about it. And hey, at least Wieters' contract is guaranteed.
"As guaranteed as anything's guaranteed," Wieters quipped.
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