PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Cardinals chose to let reliever Randy Choate skip Monday's road trip to Fort Myers, preferring that he face hitters in a Minor League game. The day's biggest benefit, though, may have come after that backfield work, during the hour-long conversation Choate had with former big league pitcher Cal Eldred.
Eldred, now a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak, and Choate talked mechanics. Eldred pointed out what he had identified as the reasons behind Choate's pitches being flat and his command inconsistent as of late. The chat came on the heels of Choate going four appearances without retiring any of the six batters he faced.
"I haven't really talked mechanics with anybody this spring because they've just let me do my thing," Choate said on Tuesday. "He just told me what he saw. That was a big key. Yesterday, I felt pretty good. But then also with those adjustments, I think it'll be a difference maker for me."
Choate threw 46 pitches on Monday -- 26 in the bullpen and 20 against left-handed Minor Leaguers. A misdirected slider led to one base hit, but Choate otherwise retired the other batters he faced on ground-ball outs.
Signed to a three-year, $7 million contract this offseason, Choate gives the Cardinals a lefty-on-lefty specialist that the club lacked in 2012. The Cardinals have not expressed much recent concern about Choate's recent Grapefruit League results, noting that the veteran has been through the spring routine enough to know how to get himself ready for the regular season.
"I don't feel like I have to prove my contract because I feel I've earned that, but you always want to show your new teammates and your new bosses that you can do the job," Choate said. "But they wouldn't have signed me here if they didn't think I could get it done. I just need to relax and be myself."
Choate said he expects to get an opportunity to pitch with his reworked mechanics in Wednesday's game against the Nationals.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.