Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Piscotty Steps Smartly at First Base

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Piscotty Steps Smartly at First Base

Article excerpt

It had been awhile since rookie first baseman Stephen Piscotty had to really stretch to make a catch.

"A couple times in practice and BP I've had similar (plays)," said Piscotty, who only started getting serious repetitions at the position in June with Class AAA Memphis. "I've had some work with that."

But in those times, a runner was never on third base with two outs in the eighth inning of a major league game with a chance for the Cardinals to fall another run behind.

Atlanta's Andrelton Simmons had singled off Cardinals newcomer Steve Cishek. He wound up on third base after a botched pickoff attempt and a groundout with the Braves already leading 3-2.

That's when Ryan Lavarnway whacked Cishek's pitch toward third baseman Matt Carpenter's glove side. As Carpenter rapidly turned and gunned it toward first, Piscotty, who was called up last week, knew the throw was going to be a tad off.

So he stuck to his footwork. Get to the bag early. Don't step too soon. Step to the throw.

A run was going to score if he didn't make this play. Sure enough, Carpenter's throw came in a little wide. But once it hit Piscotty's freshly broken-in first baseman's mitt as he swayed his body toward the throw, the tip of his foot remained glued to the bag for the final out of the inning.

The Cardinals dropped Sunday's game 3-2, but it could have been 4- 2 if Piscotty didn't leave his foot hinged. The play looked a bit uncomfortable, but the rookie was anything but in his first start at Busch Stadium.

"He's been working hard," manager Mike Matheny said. "You can tell. He's become a little more comfortable. It's hard to do this at any level, let alone really getting initiated to the big leagues at a position that you haven't had a lot of experience with."

Piscotty, a 2012 first-round draft pick out of Stanford, was drafted as a third baseman, so he's no stranger to the infield.

But the Cardinals were going to need some more help at first base, so he spent time acquainting himself with the position in the minors. Piscotty originally was scheduled to make his home debut against the Royals on Thursday, but a stiff neck kept him sidelined. …

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