VIERA, Fla. -- Shane Robinson entered spring with an edge on the bench spot that the Cardinals plan to designate to a center fielder. He has only further solidified his claim to it with a terrific offensive showing early in Grapefruit League play.
With a 2-for-3 performance in Friday's 16-10 win, highlighted by a fifth-inning grand slam, Robinson became the team's Grapefruit League leader in home runs (three) and RBIs (11). He has tallied 13 hits, scored 11 runs and carries a .520 batting average.
"It's a pretty strong statement," manager Mike Matheny said. "[Hitting] .520 is good in T-ball. He's had a terrific spring so far and hopefully he keeps doing all the little things right."
Robinson credited "confidence and comfort" -- as well as a minor adjustment to shorten his swing -- for the quick offensive start. The challenge looming for Robinson if he makes the club, though, is finding a way to maintain his swing while playing a lot less regularly.
In a pinch-hit role last year, Robinson collected seven hits in 50 at-bats.
"I've been seeing the ball well lately and have been taking good swings," Robinson said. "Everything has been good so far. I'm just trying to stay simple and do the same things I've been doing."