Meet the NRIs: C Rob Johnson

Rob Johnson began his professional career as a fourth round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in the 2004 draft. He attended Saddleback College in California before transferring to the University of Houston where he played one season before entering the MLB Draft in 2004.

In the 2005 season, between A and high A ball, he posted a .280/.332/.432 slash line. The organization noticed and he earned the jump to Triple-A Tacoma the next season. He may have been promoted before he was ready though as he struggled with a line of .231/.261/.318. Over the next two seasons with Tacoma, his Triple-A numbers improved, posting a line of .305/.363/.441 with 9 HR in 2008.

In 2009, he spent the entire year in the majors with Seattle after cups of coffee in 2007 and 2008. He posted a slash line of .213/.289/.326 with 2 HR and 27 RBI in 80 games. After the season he would have two hip surgeries and a wrist surgery, similar to the hip surgeries that Alex Rodriguez has recently undergone. [click to continue…]

Meet the NRIs: OF Justin Christian

Justin Christian was signed by the Cardinals to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training as a free agent. He spent last season with the San Francisco Giants. He has played parts of three seasons in the majors since 2008, including 32 games and 61 plate appearances last year for the Giants where he hit .125/.197/.143.

Born in Nebraska, Christian, 32, attended high school in San Mateo, California. He would spend two years at Skyline College and then Auburn University. He missed most of the 2002 season with a torn before transferring to Southeast Missouri State University where he was an All-American. He would go undrafted in the 2003 Major League Draft.

In his second season of independent ball for the River City Rascals, he hit .450 with 26 steals in 30 games. The New York Yankees signed him, having never scouted him in person. He played 2004 in the Gulf Coast and Penn League for the Yankees. [click to continue…]

Cardinals get two spring games on ESPN

ESPN issued a press release today with their Spring Training television lineup. While every game features a team from the north east United States, two of them include the St. Louis Cardinals. Guess you figured that one out though, eh?

The first game ESPN will air is the Cardinals’ contest with the New York Yankees on March 11th. Jon Sciambi, Doug Glanville, and Jayson Stark are the scheduled on-air talent. It will be the Cardinals’ 12th game of Spring Training.

Their second game will be against the New York Mets on March 26th, just three days before the teams pack up to head north for the season. Karl Ravech, Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe, and Tim Kurkjian are the scheduled on-air talent.

The Cardinals are the schedule away team for both contests. You can check out the complete schedule here.

An Unexpected Journey

The 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers Annual released yesterday on Amazon.com. It’s a good review of last year’s team and performance from some of the best of the UCB. It’s a good preparation for this year during this final two week stretch before spring training officially begins.

Last year we had hopes of selling the Annual as a full color magazine complete with pictures and heavy duty layout. It turned out well and was released as a PDF, but the Cardinals had an issue with their logos being in pictures that we were using. Rather than challenge them, we decided to play nice and not sell it. This year, no copyrighted logos in pictures and an eBook.

Yesterday it was briefly in the Top-100 Baseball Books sold on Amazon and has hung out in the Top-50 Baseball Kindle eBooks sold on Amazon almost since it’s release, which is really something. As I write this it is currently #36 of Baseball Books sold in the Kindle store.

I did not write for it, however, I did put the eBook together and designed the front cover.

So go check it out on Amazon. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you should be able to rent it as part of that program.

Link

Cardinals announce non-roster invites

The St. Louis Cardinals announced this afternoon the 16 players who will receive invitations to join the team in major league camp in Spring Training. Automatically all the members of the 40 man roster are expected to be in big league camp, but additional players can receiving invitations to work out with the big league club for the potential of earning a spot on the roster or impressing the right people.

RHP (3): Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha

LHP (2): John Gast and Tyler Lyons

Catchers (6): Adam Ehrlich, Rob Johnson, Jesus Montero, Audry Perez, Cody Stanley, and J.R. Towles

Infielders (3): Greg Garcia, Starlin Rodriguez, and Kolten Wong

Outfielders (2): Justin Christian, Oscar Taveras

No surprise for the number of catchers. Due to the high number of pitchers who are going to be in spring training, catchers are in high demand to catch bullpen sessions early in camp. By my count, the team has 24 on the 40 man roster and then have invited another 5. Unless there is an injury, I would say none of those six catchers will have a shot at cracking the major league roster.