By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. – Michael McGreevy is on the other side of the country, and years removed from his days at San Clemente High School in southern California, but there is at least one daily reminder this spring about that time in his life.
All McGreevy has to do if he wants to think about those days is look across the Cardinals minor league clubhouse and find Andre Pallante’s locker.
McGreevy was a sophomore at the school when Pallante was a senior. Pallante went on to pitch at UC-Irvine, becoming the Cardinals’ fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft. McGreevy went to UC-Santa Barbara and was selected by the Cardinals in the first round of last year’s draft.
“I wasn’t expecting to pitch my sophomore year on varsity but our number two guy went down and our coach said, ‘McGreevy can you pitch?’ and I said, ‘Yeah I can pitch,’” he said on Tuesday. “I was like the number four guy on my freshman team, but we’ll see. That’s kind of how my pitching career started.
“Ultimately it made me kind of sad because I had to leave shortstop behind. I think it worked out OK.”
After learning from Pallante in high school, McGreevy has continued to monitor his former teammate as Pallante has advanced through the Cardinals’ organization, reaching Memphis last year and then pitching very well in the Arizona Fall League.
“He threw very hard in high school,” McGreevy said. “He was a max effort guy with his hat falling off on every pitch. I think he got up to 97, 98. He’s been a guy I look up to a whole lot and it’s been good to be around him.”
If McGreevy wasn’t paying too much attention to Pallante on his own, he also hears from his mom about what his former teammate is accomplishing.
“My mom will send me text messages,” he said. “He (Pallante) has done all right. He’s a guy you look up to and want to be like. He’s a good guy to be around.”
McGreevy had an abbreviated rookie season in pro baseball, throwing only 7 2/3 innings over seven games between the rookie Complex League team and for Palm Beach. He had thrown 101 innings in the spring in college, so he still felt he had a full season worth of work.
Now he is ready for that full season to come in pro ball.
“I’ve definitely matured a little bit,” McGreevy said. “Coming in you’re humbled a little bit because everybody’s good, everybody’s just like you. Everyone has that same kind of work ethic. The biggest thing for me is just focusing on myself.
“I just kind of got my feet wet. This first full pro season is what I’m looking forward to.”
McGreevy said he is scheduled to throw another bullpen session on Thursday and then his first live batting practice of the spring on Sunday.
Other news and notes on the second day of the minor-league camp:
Praise for Oquendo: For the second day in a row, one of the Cardinals’ top infield prospects was praising the instruction he has been receiving from Jose Oquendo.
First it was Nolan Gorman, and on Tuesday, it was Masyn Winn’s turn to talk about how much Oquendo helped him improve at shortstop last year in his first pro season.
“It’s hard not to be a sponge and soak up everything,” Winn said. “I take everything he says to heart.”
The biggest thing Oquendo has tried to teach him is “being simple,” Winn said.
“I’m a high energetic, quick twitch guy and I have a lot of movement,” Winn said. “For him it’s just making everything routine, making the routine plays, making everything simple, making it slow. I tend to play really fast … Before I was kind of wild but he just talks about keeping it simple.”
Does he hear Oquendo’s voice in his head when he is playing defense?
“Every play, I promise you that,” Winn said. “He will get on you for sure. He’s trying to see you get better and he’s not going to let you slack.”
Walker homers: With John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, watching from behind the batting cage, Jordan Walked ended a round of batting practice with a long home run, into the wind blowing in from left field.
St. Louis native, kind of: Of the 153 players in the Cardinals camp, only two can claim to be St. Louis natives but one of them, outfielder Ben DeLuzio, admitted that fact is a little deceiving.
DeLuzio was born in St. Louis but said Tuesday, “I didn’t live there long.”
DeLuzio, obtained in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft in December, said he only lived in the city for about a year before his family moved to Colorado. It was on to Orlando, Fla., from there.
“I don’t really remember anything,” he said. “I grew up with a little baby Cardinals jumpsuit growing up. I don’t know where it is. It’s in the attic somewhere. Maybe we can find it one day.”
The other St. Louisian in camp is catcher Wade Stauss, a graduate of Lafayette High School who signed as a free agent last summer out of Southeast Missouri. He appeared in 15 games for Palm Beach.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains