Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In First Try at Third, 'Slick' Has Some Slips

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

In First Try at Third, 'Slick' Has Some Slips

Article excerpt

The Great Experiment began after the Cardinals' first full-scale workout Thursday: Former Gold Glove outfielder Andy Van Slyke took his first batch of balls at third base, with mixed results.

Throwing like an outfielder more than a third baseman - his motion was too long - he tossed two away at first base - and he bobbled a couple of other balls hit to him.

"The egg has just fertilized," Van Slyke said. "It's the first day." That was the general attitude of coaches Carney Lansford, a former All- Star third baseman, and Mark DeJohn. "It's different mechanics," Lansford said. "It's going to take some time, but he's a great athlete. "You can't just take a guy from the outfield and stick him at third base. I'm sorry. But given the proper amount of time and the right instruction, I think absolutely he could have a chance." One of the drills involved Van Slyke fielding ground balls hit from about 30 feet while he was on his knees. "I've never worn a (protective) cup for 13 years," he said. "Then I wore one during the regular workout and took if off. And then I'm taking ground balls on my knees." Van Slyke homered in one of his batting practice swings against instructor Dyar Miller. Asked the last time Van Slyke had hit a home run, he answered, "Last week against Rick Horton." Van Slyke, who didn't play last year, had been working out with the help of Horton, the former Cardinals lefthander. But, later while taking more batting practice, three of the letters on Van Slyke's name - the V, A and L began to come off his uniform. "It's like Wheel of Fortune on my back ," he said. "They're going to change (the name) to Vanna White." Nine pitchers threw batting practice - with the catchers hitting - on Thursday. Among them were rotation stalwarts Andy Benes, who fooled hitters with an improved changeup, and Donovan Osborne. Pitching coach Dave Duncan was impressed with Benes' off-speed pitch, which Duncan had tried to teach him last spring. "He threw it a few times last season, but probably not as much as would be perfect," Duncan said. …

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