Arm of the future - Former USC pitcher impresses Cards staff

Monday, February 28, 2005

JUPITER, Fla. -- Listed as this spring's 'prospect to watch' in the St. Louis training camp, 23-year old right-hander Anthony Reyes doesn't want to hear anything about it.

"I don't pay any attention to that stuff," Reyes said. "My goal is to get to the big leagues as soon as possible, but I'm sure that's every rookie's goal."

Selected in the 15th round in the June 2003 draft after a standout career at the University of Southern California, Reyes opened some eyes in his first professional season in 2004.

At Class A Jupiter, Reyes was 3-0 with a 4.66 earned run average. Promoted to Class AA Tennessee, Reyes was sensational with a 6-2 record and 2.91 ERA.

Those were the numbers that earned his press clippings for this spring's camp as Baseball America rated him the Cardinals' No. 1 prospect based on 111 pro innings.

Reyes threw batting practice Sunday against four of the best Cardinal hitters, Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, John Mabry and So Taguchi.

"I did pretty well," Reyes reported.

Reyes, 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, has impressed manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan in the early spring workouts.

"He has real good stuff," La Russa reported. "He has a good delivery; he is sneaky and deceptive. He has the whole ball of wax. I can see why he is so highly rated."

At Tennessee last year, Reyes had an excellent walk-to-strikeout ration, issuing only 13 bases on balls while fanning 102. He once struck out 15 in a game, a Southern League record.

"He has command, good makeup, a nice delivery, and that results in throwing the ball with pretty decent control," Duncan said.

"He is a very impressive young man with a great future," Duncan added.

Both La Russa and Duncan emphasized that it is important to give Reyes more professional playing time and not to hurry his progress.

"It is still early in camp, and I am working on my command," Reyes said. "The coaches are getting a feel for what I have and are looking at the pattern of my pitches."

Because of rain Sunday, the Cards didn't hit the practice field until 11:15 a.m., about two hours after they normally start.

"All we have to do is have some guys throw batting practice, say to about 12:15, and I'll celebrate," La Russa said.

La Russa got his wish. The Cardinals finished drills at 12:35 p.m.

Among those throwing was veteran Matt Morris, who is coming off shoulder surgery. Morris was throwing batting practice for the first time.

"Matt was very good today, facing batters for the first time," Duncan said. "He threw and the ball good and he felt good, a very positive day I would say."

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