As the eighth pick of the 2002 draft who has played a total of 152 games in the majors, none of those since 2012, Moore understands his place in the Cardinals’ pecking order of minor leaguers. He knows why he isn’t mentioned with all the prospects and newcomers when the media do their speculating on who has the best chance of making the team.
"The last couple of years, I’m used to being the older guy," Moore said Friday after a 3-for-4 day that included a two-run homer and a double off Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon. "At the beginning of my career, those guys mattered a lot. Baseball now, especially the media, is always looking for the next young best thing and I understand that. That doesn’t bother me. That has nothing to do with what I do on the field and how I go about my business."
Moore watched player after player get called up from Memphis last year and understandably grew frustrated. But not with the Cardinals. He hit .236.
"The reason I didn’t play in the big leagues last year was nobody’s fault but mine," he said.
He’s not just saying that, either. If Moore had been upset with the organization, he could have looked for another situation in the offseason. Perhaps a club on which he would have had a better chance to make the team, or at least one where he might not have so many players to climb over to be called up. But Moore said he enjoyed being a part of the Cardinals’ organization so much that he did not have to think when he was offered a chance to return.
"It was a no-brainer," he said. "I loved the organization, I loved the way they go about the business. I’ve been in the game a decent amount of time and I’ve been on some really good teams, around some really great guys, but I’ve never seen everybody pulling for everybody all the time like here. It’s not just a few of the guys in the clubhouse. It starts at the top. It’s cool to be a part of."
Moore, 31, might have a better shot of reaching St. Louis this season than us media-types think, too. He offers something that few in the organization can: Left-handed power. His low batting average aside, he still finished with 15 homers and 22 doubles last year.
"The fact is I am capable of helping a team win," Moore said. "And hopefully, it’s this team."
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He still has the attention of manager Mike Matheny, who said Friday that Moore told him recently not to ship him out too soon. "He kept telling me, ‘Stick with me here,’" Matheny said. "He wanted to make sure we didn’t stop too soon watching him."
Matheny has liked what he has seen this week.
"He’s taking good at-bats. Every time we give him one, he comes up ready to go," Matheny said. "He gets the head out. We saw him pull it, we saw him drive it the other way. We saw some great plays at first base the other day. He’s a good baseball player."
• Wacha gets his work. Michael Wacha gave up six hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Cardinals’ 5-4 loss to the Mets but still was pleased with his outing. He was able to get his pitch count to 65 and said, "I was happy with the way the ball was coming out of the hand, the command on my pitches."
The Mets were playing their A lineup and Curtis Granderson, David Wright and Michael Cuddyer accounted for four of the hits off Wacha. "They were putting some good swings on some good pitches," he said. "They were able to drive them in when they got guys in scoring position."
• Jay gets going. Center fielder Jon Jay had a single in three at-bats in his first spring game after his start was delayed by offseason surgery on his left wrist. "I said the whole time the goal was to be ready April 5," said Jay, who believes he will be. "It felt good to get out there. Continue to get my timing, get in shape. I felt good playing five innings."
Jay said he doesn’t plan to play Saturday, but will make the trip to Sarasota and Fort Myers.
• Sharp outing for Rosenthal. Closer Trevor Rosenthal worked a three-up, three-down inning that included two strikeouts, including one against Kirk Nieuwenhuis that he finished with a 99-mph fastball. "Trevor looked good. He looks as good as I’ve ever seen him," Matheny said.