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A Speedy Reminder

ST. LOUIS–When scouting director Marty Maier talks about Matt Lemanczyk, he thinks of the Cardinals in the 1980s.

Lemanczyk, a left fielder at low Class A Peoria, has speed to burn, as indicated by his 18 stolen bases early in the season.

"He’s kind of a throwback guy to the old Cardinal system, when we signed so many guys that could run," said Maier, mentioning names like Vince Coleman, Willie McGee and Lonnie Smith. "We still like those guys that can motor like he can. This guy creates a similar (uneasiness) on defenses because they can’t lay back on balls on the infield. If you give him an extra hop on ground balls, he’s going to beat them out."

Lemanczyk, a 10th-round selection in the 2002 draft from Sacred Heart, was batting .297-0-13. The 22-year-old righthanded hitter finished at .239-1-15 with 31 steals at Rookie-level Johnson City last season.

"He played at a small school, and last year he showed signs of what he’s capable of doing," Maier said. "He’s got tremendous speed and is a line-drive hitter. He’s got good instincts on the base paths and has a good idea what he wants to do. What we’re seeing from him is the tip of the iceberg. He’s just coming into his own."

Covering ground is Lemanczyk’s forte, whether on the bases or in the outfield. He has enough speed to play center, but another fast player, Reid Gorecki, handles that job in Peoria.

Maier said Lemanczyk is best suited for left at this stage because his defensive skills remain a work in progress.

"He’s a pretty good defender," Maier said. "He has good instincts in the outfield and can go get the ball. (But) he’s in the learning stages of becoming the kind of outfielder he’s capable of becoming. He’s got a chance to be an outstanding defensive player."

Redbird Chirps

• For now, righthander Jimmy Journell’s best chance for promotion to the major leagues is as a reliever. After Journell went 1-5, 5.54 at Triple-A Memphis as a starter, he moved to the pen, partly to see if he can help the big league club’s shaky bullpen. He allowed three hits and two earned runs in his first two appearances.

• The Cardinals signed veteran infielder/outfielder Craig Paquette after he was released by Detroit. Paquette played for the Cardinals from 1999-2001 before signing with the Tigers before the 2002 season.

• Previous organization report: Dan Haren

 
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