(Jupiter, FL) Like several of his teammates on the St. Louis Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko has reported early to Spring Training.
“Obviously it was a little longer than we all had hoped,” said Gyorko of his off-season. “It’s always good to get home and spend some time with your family and get to unwind a little bit. It goes fast and now I think we’re all excited to get down here and get started.”
And also like many of his teammates, Gyorko is looking a couple of pounds lighter–but unlike others, it wasn’t due to pilates.
“No, I don’t think there’s too much pilates going on back where I’m from,” he quipped with smile. “Tried to get a little more agile, a little bit faster, a little bit stronger. Just pretty much what people try to do in a normal off-season. Nothing too drastic.”
“I think it’s pretty similiar to last year really,” he said of the difference this year. “Getting myself prepared to do anything that’s asked of me, I think that’s kind of what it comes down to. Just preparing myself for whatever it throws–as we saw last year, it’s a long season, a lot of different things can happen. It’s going to happen pretty much every year where guys are going to down, you hope it doesn’t, but that’s just how the game works.”
Certainly the season will bring some twists and turns, but unlike last year it has been openly acknowledged by General Manager John Mozeliak that Gyorko and Jhonny Peralta will be competing for the starting job at third base.
“We haven’t really talked a whole lot about that,” Gyorko said. “I haven’t talked too much about that with anybody. I know what to expect and I think it went without saying that they didn’t need to tell me to get myself prepared to play anywhere and I think that’s what I did this off-season.”
That included third base, shortstop, second base, but not emergency catcher.
“I didn’t catch too many bullpens, I know that” he smiled. “I spent a lot of time everywhere. Obviously, in the off-season you have plenty of time to get stuff done and I just kind of moved around and made sure I was ready at every position.”
The bat will also be ready, although Gyorko isn’t looking to necessarily duplicate his 30 home runs which was tops on the Cardinals last season.
“I’ve said every year, I don’t really set statistical goals,” he explained. “A lot of things can change in a season–you’re not even sure how many times you’re going to bat and stuff like that. It’s hard to set those expectations for something like that. All I do is just try to prepare myself and help the team win.”
One change that is already evident this season is the departure of Brandon Moss. The pair lockered beside each other and became the best of friends–and partners in crime around the clubhouse last year.
“Yeah, I’ll have to find someone else to hang out with and mess around with a lot but he’ll be missed,” said Gyorko. “I think he was a good guy in the clubhouse, but like anything else in baseball you’ve just to move on and keep going. We’ve got a bunch of guys here that need to get our work in and that’s what we’re going to concetrate on.”
“I think for the most part the clubhouse guys–we’ve got some pretty good guys to look up to. I’m not going to do anything different than I’ve always done in the past. There’s guys that have been here for a long time that have done some great things around here that we can all look up to.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI