Notes: Big day for Barton, Ludwick
Outfielders combine for seven hits, including a homer each
JUPITER, Fla. -- Ryan Ludwick got his hits, then got hit. He was red-faced and dripping with sweat following the Cardinals' Wednesday afternoon loss to the Nationals, but overall, he was feeling pretty good.
Brian Barton was a little cooler, literally and figuratively, but had just as much to be pleased about.
The two outfielders, who had combined for four hits in the first week of Grapefruit League play, amassed seven knocks on Wednesday -- including one home run each. Ludwick went 3-for-4 with a homer and two singles and was hit in the helmet by a pitch. Barton beat out an infield single, lined two more singles and hit his first home run of the spring.
"That's kind of the type of player I've been," said Barton. "I'll hit a ball in the gap, and I'll hit a ball out, but I'll still try to bunt and I'll still try to beat a ball out in the infield. It's important for me to get on base, not only for me but for the guys behind me."
Barton is trying to make the Cardinals as a Rule 5 draftee, and he has some traits that make him quite appealing. He's speedy, he's shown an ability to get on base and he bats from the right side.
Ludwick, meanwhile, is a near certainty to make the club -- a rare occurrence in his peripatetic career. Even so, he admitted that he might have been trying a little too hard in the early going.
"I felt like I came into camp and I had a short swing," Ludwick said. "But I think you can try to do too much sometimes to impress, and I think it got longer. I've just been working the last two days to [fix that]. It's about shortening your swing, seeing the ball and putting good at-bats on it. Swinging at strikes. If you do that, I feel like you can have some success."
Finish him: Pitching coach Dave Duncan said on Wednesday that he is concerned about Anthony Reyes' ability to finish off hitters. Reyes threw strikes on Tuesday against Baltimore but saw many advantageous counts turn into base hits.
"He had a lot of counts where he controlled the count and then ends up fouled off, fouled off, fouled off, fouled off, and then makes a mistake and gets hit," Duncan said. "He couldn't finish the hitter.
"I'm aware of that. We have always felt that way, that he really didn't have a pitch that he could throw in the strike zone to finish the hitter. He had to basically get the hitter to swing at a changeup that was leaving the strike zone, a breaking ball that was leaving the strike zone or a fastball above the strike zone."
Reyes' changeup and curveball are both occasionally putaway pitches, but neither is consistently so. His fastball does not have the sort of late movement that makes it a putaway pitch.
Sold out: The Cardinals' exhibition games against Double-A Springfield at Springfield are all but sold out as of Wednesday. The only remaining tickets, according to Springfield general manager Matt Gifford, are a few general-admission tickets that are being held out "as a benefit for future season-ticket holders."
Clement to face hitters: Duncan confirmed on Wednesday that Matt Clement will throw live batting practice on Thursday. It will be Clement's first time facing hitters this spring.
More cuts: The Cardinals made their second round of cuts following Wednesday night's game. David Freese, Rico Washington, Nick Stavinoha and Matt Pagnozzi, all non-roster players, were re-assigned to Minor League camp.
Weather report: Thursday could bring another day of dodging the raindrops. The forecast calls for a temperature close to 80 degrees but scattered thunderstorms throughout the afternoon.
Coming up: The Cardinals face the Marlins once again on Thursday, though this time St. Louis will be considered the home team. Todd Wellemeyer will start and Brad Thompson will get some innings in relief, but the biggest name on the mound will be Jason Isringhausen. The Cards closer will make his 2008 Grapefruit League debut against the Fish.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.