ST. LOUIS -- Prompted by requests from his players, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny scheduled an early batting practice on Wednesday to minimize how much the shadows affected the session.
Last year, several players voiced frustration about how difficult it was to see the ball during mid-afternoon games because of the shadows that would creep across the infield. Those have recently been a nuisance during batting practice, too, and that drove players to approach hitting coach Mark McGwire with the suggestion. Matheny agreed to the time change.
"Batting practice is about getting comfortable with your swing, and you don't want to fight any elements," Matheny said. "The guys are willing to get here early. "[The shadows] changes as the spring progresses, but right now the shadows are pretty tough."
On Wednesday, the entire team was out on the field by 3:30 p.m. CT, approximately 45 minutes earlier than usual.
While this likely isn't the last time the Cardinals will take their swings early, the shadows will become less of a problem as the season progresses and the daylight hours change.