Cards abandon plans for Piscotty at first

Cards abandon plans for Piscotty at first

JUPITER, Fla. -- After putting Stephen Piscotty through crash-course sessions at first base last season, the Cardinals have no plans to make the position a priority the rest of Spring Training.

The development isn't all that different than it was a year ago, when the Cardinals abandoned the idea of introducing Piscotty to first base because of the number of other options the club had. It wasn't until midseason, when that depth turned out to be insufficient, that the Cardinals revisited the idea and pushed Piscotty to learn the position.

Piscotty went on to play 57 innings at first base for the Cardinals in 2015.

The 25-year-old worked extensively at first base over the winter, believing that if the Cardinals resigned Jason Heyward or acquired another outfielder, that he may have to shift his focus to first. But such a move never came and, consequently, the Cardinals' interest in preparing Piscotty to be a fill-in at first base has waned.

"He was real proud of some strides he made over the winter," manager Mike Matheny said. "But I think his time is best served right now continuing to work in the outfield."

Piscotty's diving catch

One factor the Cardinals did not consider when encouraging Piscotty to work at first base over the winter was that Matt Holliday would take the surprise initiative to learn the position as well. As a result, Holliday could be the right-handed hitting first-base option the club initially intended Piscotty to be. The club, of course, has two other first baseman -- Matt Adams and Brandon Moss -- with much more extensive experience at the position. Both hit from the left side.

The organization has not outlined how it envisions Holliday fitting into the first-base mix, but it's clear the Cardinals are going to keep preparing him for the possibility of regular-season exposure there. After making his debut at the position on Monday, Holliday was back in the starting lineup as a first baseman on Wednesday against the Marlins.

"He just has to get work there in a game," Matheny said of Holliday. "He's done everything there that you could possibly do in workouts. The next level is watching how he responds, watching what doesn't look comfortable [to him], watching what he needs to work on more. You can only really figure that out in game situations."

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.