The Cardinals have a well-documented history of trying established players at new positions with a fair amount of success, having transitioned Schumaker from outfield to second base and similarly moving Carpenter from third base to the keystone a few years ago. This spring, it's Holliday, who has played literally every one of his 13,838 2/3 defensive innings in left field, who is trying to make the move to first base.
And once again, it appears to be a gamble that has a chance of paying off. Holliday has been manning first base in Grapefruit League games and has looked comfortable at the position, making a diving stop in Thursday's game against the Tigers that had manager Mike Matheny impressed afterwards.
"He continues to show us he's going to be an option over there," Matheny told ESPN's Jayson Stark after the game.
It was a move that Holliday initiated, both as a way to give the Cardinals flexibility with their lineup and to possibly give the 36-year-old added versatility as he seeks to continue his career. With Holliday presenting a right-handed option at first base, the Cardinals could put Tommy Pham in the outfield with Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty against lefties while keeping Holliday in left field and slotting either Brandon Moss or Matt Adams in at first against righties.
“We’ll continue to watch and we’ll decide later how that’s going to be used,” Matheny said of possible lineup manipulations.
The move could help preserve Holliday's health as well. He's been remarkably durable for his career, but injuries limited him to 73 games in 2015. As he's not getting any younger, some games at first base could keep him fresh. It's a situation worth monitoring.
Spring training is in full swing, so be sure to keep refreshing Rotoworld's constantly-updating player news page for all the latest. And while you're at it, follow @Rotoworld_BB and @nate_grimm if you are on Twitter.
Rodriguez To Begin Year On DL
Some had hopes for big things from Eduardo Rodriguez this year, but those big things are officially on hold, at least for a little while.
Red Sox manager John Farrell confirmed Thursday that Rodriguez will start the year on the disabled list as he works back from a patellar tendon injury. Farrell declined to speculate on when the 22-year-old might be ready for a return to the club.
“The best-case scenario is when he’s first ready and available,” Farrell said. “I’m not trying to avoid your question, but there are steps that we have to go through here, and I don’t have an exact number of days that he’ll have to advance through each of those phases. I can tell you this: Anytime we get a starting pitcher that goes out on rehab, you’re getting them to 80-90 pitches. You can’t bring them back with the potential that they overtax a bullpen. We’ve got to build to that point. He needs spring training.”
Rodriguez hurt his knee shagging fly balls in late February, only getting back on the mound Wednesday. He was scheduled to throw again Friday.
In his absence, starters Steven Wright, Henry Owens and Roenis Elias are vying for a rotation spot. None have been overly impressive in Grapefruit League play, as Wright owns a 2.79 ERA but a .317 batting average against and 1.76 WHIP; Owens has a 6.97 ERA and 1.84 WHIP; and Elias has posted a 9.64 ERA and 2.57 WHIP to date.
White Sox In Discord
The White Sox made moves this winter in hopes of changing their on-field fortunes, but off-field issues have them off to a less than ideal start this spring.
A day after reports came out that Adam LaRoche chose to retire because he was asked by team president Kenny Williams that LaRoche's 14-year-old son, Drake, hang around the locker room less often, a team meeting got heated as players expressed their frustration with Williams' request, according to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.
Most vocal was ace Chris Sale, who told Williams in no uncertain terms to get out and stay out of the locker room, per FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal. Passan said the players were so upset that they contemplated boycotting Thursday's Cactus League game.
It's an ugly mark on what should be a March filled with hope and good feelings for the Chicago club. After trading for Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie and signing Jimmy Rollins, Alex Avila and Austin Jackson, the Sox appear ready to contend in a wide open AL Central. This issue will likely pass -- perhaps it will even bring the players closer as they unite against the common enemy, Williams -- but on March 17, the focus should be on the diamond, not the clubhouse.
Quick Hits: Yadier Molina (thumb) took live batting practice Thursday. It was his first live BP session of the spring, and if he came out of it alright, he could be allowed to hit in a game in the next few days as he eyes an Opening Day start ... the Mets announced Matt Harvey will be their Opening Day starter. They could get a little unconventional with their second game, as manager Terry Collins said they are considering using two pitchers -- presumably Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz -- in attempt to get the pitchers some work amidst a number of off days early in the season ... Scooter Gennett (shoulder) returned to the Brewers' lineup Thursday. It was Gennett's first Cactus League game this spring and he made the most of it, finishing 3-for-3 with a home run ... Yasmany Tomas (knee) could return to Cactus League games as soon as Friday. Tomas has missed nearly two weeks with a left knee ailment, an absence that has allowed Socrates Brito to enter the conversation for the team's starting left fielder ... Jerad Eickhoff (thumb) will make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday. Eickhoff had his debut pushed back Thursday, but it's not anything that should preclude him from being ready for the start of the season ... The Indians and Reds made a couple minor moves, signing Marlon Byrd and Alfredo Simon, respectively, to minor league deals. Byrd could help the Tribe weather April without Michael Brantley and Abraham Almonte, while Simon may free up the Reds to trade a pitcher in the right deal ... Evan Longoria and Yoenis Cespedes both left exhibition games Thursday, but both escaped any serious harm. Longoria sustained a shin contusion after fouling a ball off his leg, while Cespedes took a pitch off his right hand ... Reports of a torn labrum in his shoulder were inaccurate, but Bronson Arroyo confirmed Thursday that he's dealing with a torn rotator cuff. He said he won't have surgery, choosing to "either rehab or retire" at 39 years old ... Justin Morneau will be out until at least June after having surgery in December to repair a tendon in his elbow. It's another bad break for the 34-year-old ... Rafael Soriano has decided to retire. A visa issue kept the 36-year-old from reporting to the Blue Jays after he signed a minor league deal last month, so he instead will call it a career, finishing with 207 saves ... Johan Santana, who hasn't pitched in the majors since 2012, is in the early stages of a throwing program. It's a long shot, as it's been for some time now, but Santana could be ready to help a team by midseason if all goes well.