For the first time in forever, I’ve dusted off the ol’ password, logged in, and have a little blogging to do about the Cards’ Winter Warmup. I’m always so excited to participate in this event, in whatever capcaity I’m able. The organization continues to be generous when it comes to access & participation for blogger.
Brandon Moss stepped to the podium to take some questions, and give a little insight. The ink might still be a little wet on his one-year deal from about 24 hours ago, which will keep him in St. Louis for at least another year. When asked about the uncertainty of returning this offseason, Moss said that it all started with being tendered. “When you’re not tendered”, he told the room, ‘there is a variety of possible outcomes’.
There were obviously questions about how his lower half feels, following the hip surgery that had him sidelined, and limited his play recently. Moss injured his hip in January of 2014 during a weightlifting session, doing explosive squats. He said he lost his balance just enough that he went “up on his tippy toes”, started to slip a little sideways, then twisted down to the floor. He said he knew right away that he’d done some damage. After playing through the remainder of the season, with the help of a cortisone shot, he had the hip surgery. Last season, was largely rehabbing and building up strength in his legs. As he explained, his legs grew weak during the time he was recovering from his hip, and he was relegated to activities underwater to help the flexibility of the hip. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help strengthen his legs.
Without a strong base, you’re simply not able to drive the ball with power, and that’s what Moss is: a power hitter. Don’t look for that to approach to change anytime soon, either. “I can’t say I’m going to hit .260, or even .240, but I know I’ve got power.” And when healthy, he’s not short on power at all. Having good at-bats built his confidence last year, though he admitted that didn’t make for much substance he could bring to a post-game interview. He pondered aloud what he’d say to the media after a game, “I know I suck, the at-bats are good!”?
Much of the warning track fly outs last season, Moss attributes to the lack of strength in his legs, and the inability to prepare as he otherwise does for an upcoming season. This offseason, Brandon said he’s been able to do about his normal offseason training activities, and feels 100%.
I asked Moss if he had a preference for where he’d like to play defensively. He said that he doesn’t, saying “I’ve got a decent arm, but I’m no Jason Heyward out there–I don’t have a lot of range. At first (base), I’m no Votto. I mean, I can pick it, but again, I don’t have a lot of range.” He said he just tries his best when he goes out there, no matter where he plays, and just wants to be a contributor to this team.
Brandon was asked to give his impression of the Cards/cubs rivalry. “I’ve never been a part of anything like that. It was fun!” He pointed out that he watched the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry, hearkening back to his days in Boston, “…but I didn’t play in those games, I just watched.” Moss credited the fans bringing extra energy to the already competitive games between St. Louis and the north-siders, they “make the environment what it is.”, he told us.
Expecting his power to return this season, Brandon Moss seems poised and ready to be an integral part of the Cardinals offense this year. He pointed out that “It takes longer to build confidence back up after a bad year”, when asked about the difference between riding high confidence following “good” years, versus letting the “bad” years mess with your mind. “It felt like I only hit 3 HRs last season, even though I hit 4 here (St. Louis), and 19 overall.” Moss hit 15 bombs while with Cleveland last season, and though he “didn’t hit many IN Cleveland, I hit them while I played for Cleveland”, as he pointed emphatically with his index finger, “…and THAT COUNTS!”