Hip Adjustment Helps Longmire

Outfielder tweaks swing mechanics





St. Louis—An athletic outfielder who drew attention for his pro debut last summer, Nick Longmire vaulted to low Class A Quad Cities this season and found something kept getting in the way of a strong start.

In the words of his manager, Longmire had to "clear his hips."

Longmire, a fifth-round pick out of Pacific, struggled to a .184/.235/.224 line in April as opposing pitchers in the Midwest League handcuffed him with inside pitches. The 21-year-old righthanded hitter had to break some college habits to regain access to that part of the strike zone, starting with opening up his hips on his swing instead of focusing only on driving the ball to right field.

"There are definitely things you can do with a metal bat that you just have to make an adjustment to get better with wood," Longmire said. "You can't get away with certain things. The metal is obviously forgiving."

Longmire is one of a handful of prospects that the Cardinals were planning to bring to Busch Stadium with the Quad Cities club to showcase the next generation of talent for the big league crowd. On May 26, Quad Cities was scheduled to play a regular season game at Busch—the first minor league game at the ballpark since 2006—and the Cardinals planned to stack the lineup with prospects. Longmire joined catcher Cody Stanley, outfielders Oscar Taveras and Michael Swinson and high-watt starting pitcher Carlos Martinez as prospects expected to play at Busch.

Longmire reaches the big league park stirring from the slow start. His manager, Johnny Rodriguez, suggested that Longmire has shown power to right-center field, but as he gets comfortable shifting his hips to clear a path to the inside pitch the power will develop to left and the strikeouts (32 in 39 games) will diminish.

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• The Cardinals claimed reliever Jess Todd off waivers from the Yankees, bringing the righty back to his original club. The Cardinals traded Todd in a 2009 deal with the Indians for Mark DeRosa.

• Taveras went on the disabled list in mid-May, the second time this season he's been slowed by a hamstring strain. The Cardinals sent Taveras to Jupiter, Fla., to meet with trainers, heal and strengthen the area to keep the injury from becoming chronic. He's batting .500/.536/.692 in 14 games.