Cardinals let Piscotty catch up, start him at DH

Cardinals let Piscotty catch up, start him at DH

JUPITER, Fla. -- After initially choosing Jacob Wilson to serve as the team's designated hitter for the Grapefruit League opener, the Cardinals pulled a switcheroo Thursday morning to help Stephen Piscotty get caught back up.

Piscotty, who missed two workouts due to a stomach illness last week, has been trying to amass at-bats since returning to the field. His earlier absence cost him an opportunity to see pitches in live batting practice, and that prompted Piscotty to request a bigger bulk here early in spring games.

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Piscotty finished 0-for-2 with a walk and an RBI groundout in the Cardinals' 4-3 win over the Marlins on Thursday.

"Felt good," Piscotty said afterward. "Body is recovering. All the at-bats I can get, I'll take."

Asked if he still felt behind in his work, Piscotty added: "Not after today."

By design, the Cardinals will start Piscotty again on Friday, though this time he'll also play the field. Part of his recovery from the illness has also involved putting back on the weight he lost.

Worth noting
• Not only did Tyler Lyons impress with his efficiency on Thursday, he also was quicker to the plate in the process. The Cardinals clocked Lyons' time of delivery at about 1.1 seconds, a time low enough to typically thwart runners from attempting to steal. Being quicker to home was a goal Lyons set coming into camp. He gave up four stolen bases in four attempts with the Cardinals last season.

• Catcher Brayan Pena spent a few minutes after Thursday's game explaining the color-coded system he utilizes to differentiate his bats. Pena has his bat handles wrapped in one of three colors -- red, blue or yellow. The bat taped with red is his batting practice bat and also the heaviest of the three types. The one in yellow is used when he bats left-handed, and the one in blue is for when he hits from the right side. The yellow-taped bat is the lightest of the bunch. Utilizing the colorful tape, Pena said, ensures he doesn't make a mistake as he's reaching for a bat.

• Left-hander Tim Cooney (shoulder soreness) has resumed a throwing program but has still not been cleared to throw off the mound. The Cardinals modified Cooney's spring work after he notified the staff of some tightness during his second bullpen session of camp.

• The Budweiser Clydesdales, a staple of Opening Day in St. Louis, paraded around the Roger Dean Stadium warning track on Thursday to celebrate the club's spring opener.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.