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Mike O’Neill Is A Sparkplug

Derrick Goold -Premium Content

Many numbers from outfielder Mike O'Neill's first full pro season could excite him, but it's a word that resonates with him. "When you say 'leadoff,' my eyes light up," O'Neill said. "I like to be the sparkplug for the offense. I want to be the person who gets on base, so I can create things with my speed, make things happen for the hitters behind me. That's my game."

Majors | #2012#Organization Reports#St. Louis Cardinals

Seth Blair Bounces Back For Cards

Derrick Goold -Premium Content

The scar on the middle finger of Seth Blair's pitching hand is less than an inch long, which is hardly representative of the length of time it cost him.<br/>Poised to spend the season reasserting his place in an organization suddenly crowded with starting pitchers like him, Blair was less than 20 pitches into his first bullpen session of the regular season when he felt a lightning strike of pain in his finger. When he tried to play catch the next day, just gripping the ball was "excruciating." Sent by the team for scans and exams of the finger, Blair was astonished by the reason he couldn't make a pitch.

Majors | #2012#Organization Reports#St. Louis Cardinals

Oscar Taveras Responded To Move To Double-A

Derrick Goold -Premium Content

When Oscar Taveras arrived at minor league spring training, three Cardinals officials, including major league manager Mike Matheny, met with the preternatural hitter and held out a carrot. A promotion to Double-A, completely skipping high Class A, was there for his taking—if he proved his defense, baserunning and fundamentals rose to that level. No one doubted his bat was ready.

Majors | #2012#Organization Reports#St. Louis Cardinals

Shelby Miller Gets Back On Track In Second Half

Derrick Goold -Premium Content

After Cardinals pitching coordinator Brent Strom watched the team's top prospect, righthander Shelby Miller, throw a bullpen session during spring training, he had one impression. This was not the same guy he remembered. Miller, the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft, had slimmed down during the winter, losing what the Cardinals feared was some needed muscle, and his mechanics had eroded. His fastball lacked pop. And at the start of the season so did his performance. In his first turn at Triple-A Memphis, Miller was erratic, prone to homers and what he called "ugly innings," and, most of all, too reliant on his fastball.

Majors | #2012#Organization Reports#St. Louis Cardinals