JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — For a hitter not known for fast starts, Paul Goldschmidt put up a lofty number in spring training.
A batting average of .500, in fact.
“Anything can happen when you’re talking about 20 to 30 at-bats,” the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman said Tuesday. “Just like the end of spring, the numbers can be skewed better or worse. It’s not something I look at. It’s just getting your body ready for opening day and being ready to play the whole year.”
Batting second, Goldschmidt popped up and had a sacrifice fly on Tuesday against Miami, leaving him at 11 for 22.
Goldschmidt’s hits haven’t been of the cheap variety, either. Four left the ballpark. It would have been five had Washington’s Lane Thomas not extended his glove over the wall on Monday, flicking a ball back into the field of play that Dee Strange-Gordon then caught in mid-air for an out.
“It’s like a video game,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Goldschmidt’s spring at-bats. “No matter what they throw, it ends up going far.”
The Cardinals open the season Thursday at home against Pittsburgh.
A career .293 hitter with 280 home runs, Goldschmidt usually takes a little time to heat up.
He’s a .275 hitter in limited March at-bats and all of April, down from his .293 career mark. The start of the 2021 season proved particularly troublesome for the six-time All-Star — he entered May hitting only .214.
This spring, Goldschmidt looked a lot more like the guy who hit .323 or better in each of the final three months last season.
One difference for Goldschmidt this spring is that he’s swinging a different piece of lumber. During the offseason season he visited Baseball Performance Lab in Louisiana to have his swing analyzed.
As a result, Goldschmidt is swinging a bat weighted a bit differently.
“It ends up being a little heavier, but the way it is feels the exact same as my old bat,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s very similar to the bat I’ve always swung.”
Goldschmidt minimizes the new bat’s role in his strong spring. And he has a point.
The skill resides with the craftsman, not the tools.
“His timing, his at-bats, his laying off tough pitches, like I said, that’s what the greats do — and he’s one of the greats,” third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “It’s been a lot of fun to watch. I’m excited to watch him this year.”
NOTES: Marlins starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez left the game after being hit in the arm by a liner from Tyler O’Neill in the first inning. Hernandez talked to Miami reporters postgame and said he was OK. Hernandez is scheduled to be Marlins’ No. 4 starter. … St. Louis defeated Miami 7-0 to finish the spring with a 9-5 record.
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