A Newfound Wisdom For Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla.—Late in spring training, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny tried to count the number of times Patrick Wisdom had been in big league camp, and eventually decided the actual number didn’t matter.

Whether it was his fourth or fifth spring, this one was a first impression.

“I think Patrick Wisdom was a guy who changed our minds,” Matheny said. “He just looks like a completely different player than what we saw. How many springs have we had him here? He looks like a different (guy). He’s the guy you feel really good about.”

Wisdom, 25, became a regular in Grapefruit League games as a late-game replacement at third base and first base. One time, the righthanded batter started against a lefthander.

He has a swing change to thank, and he shed some blood to make it happen.

“When I changed my hand (position), my hands were physically bleeding,” said Wisdom, a 2012 supplemental first-rounder from St. Mary’s. “It was so new. I wasn’t used to holding a bat that way. I was taking so many swings, so many repetitions, that I started getting blisters and those started bleeding. I didn’t mind the blood or the pain.”

He was seeking results. That’s what prompted him to move the bat out of his deep palm and closer to his fingers. Wisdom had idled in the minors for several years and knew that to move up a level he had to take a risk, had to alter his swing. Otherwise, he would plateau.

A reliable third baseman, Wisdom refined his swing to seek harder contact toward the middle of the field rather than trying to pull everything to left field. That opened up both gaps to him, and he didn’t lose the ability to loft homers.

That allowed him to stay true to the goal he saw major league hitters chase, and that goal is not prospect rankings.

“They were there for one job,” he said, “(to) get a hit and get to the big leagues.”


With the six-year, $33.5 million extension given outfielder Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals continued their trend of being one of the most aggressive organizations when it comes to signing pre-arbitration players to multi-year deals.

Righthander John Gant (groin) and lefthander Tyler Lyons (knee) began the season on the disabled list, though were scheduled to immediately start rehab assignments at Triple-A Memphis.

— Derrick Goold covers the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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