Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stottlemyre Has Something to Prove

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Stottlemyre Has Something to Prove

Article excerpt

Todd Stottlemyre has started plenty of exhibition games before. But Friday's Cardinals game in Fort Myers, Fla., against Boston, will have a little more significance for him.

"When you're a new guy, you want to prove yourself to your new teammates and you want them to accept you," he said. "The way of them accepting a new guy is for the new guy to come in and do the job well.

"Not talk about it. Not talk about what he did in the past. Whatever I did last year really means nothing - the numbers, the record, nothing. It's ground zero."

Stottlemyre, drafted first by the Cardinals in the 1985 secondary phase of the draft, was 14-7 with 205 strikeouts for Oakland last season. He was traded for four young players in January.

With Andy Benes signing as a free agent, the Cardinals have the 1-2 power-pitching punch they have lacked for years. But Stottlemyre, 30, isn't anywhere close to where he wants to be.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan determined that Stottlemyre was out of whack Tuesday when throwing to hitters, and Stottlemyre agreed.

"I'm struggling with my mechanics now," Stottlemyre said. "But this is the time you want to go through it - to work out those little flaws and that winter rust.

"Right now, my arm is a little slow and my body is rushing. But you don't want to get to where it becomes April 1 and you want to work through your mechanics."

Admittedly not the most patient person, Stottlemyre said, "I'm so competitive that I want to walk out there and want everything to be on time. I'd like to walk in here every year and have everything be great, that every pitch was perfect. If that was the case, we wouldn't need spring training.

"If opening day was tomorrow, am I ready? No. But I don't expect myself to be ready yet.

"I'm not hanging my head but today kicks me in the butt to work harder and get through this. …

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