Paul Goldschmidt of the St. Louis Cardinals ends spring training with a .500 batting average

JUPITER, Fla. — For a hitter not known for getting off to a quick start, Paul Goldschmidt hit a high number in spring training.

A batting average of .500, in fact.

“Anything can happen when you’re talking about 20 to 30 at bats,” the St. Louis Cardinals first baseman said Tuesday. “Just like late spring, the numbers can be better or worse. It’s not something I watch. It’s just getting your body ready for opening day and being ready to play all year round.

Second at bat, Goldschmidt appeared and made a sacrifice steal Tuesday against Miami, leaving it at 11 for 22.

Nor have Goldschmidt’s hits been of the cheap variety. Four left the stadium. It would have been five if Washington’s Lane Thomas hadn’t stretched his glove over the wall on Monday, returning a ball into the field of play that Dee Strange-Gordon then caught in the air for an out.

“It’s like a video game,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Goldschmidt’s spring at-bats. “No matter what they throw, it ends up going far.”

The Cardinals open the season Thursday at home against Pittsburgh.

A career .293 hitter with 280 homers, Goldschmidt usually takes a little while to warm up.

He’s a .275 hitter in limited attendances in March and all of April, down from his career mark of .293. The start of the 2021 season proved particularly troublesome for the six-time All-Star – he entered May with just .214.

This spring, Goldschmidt looked a lot more like the guy who hit .323 or better in each of the last three months of last season.

One difference for Goldschmidt this spring is that he’s rocking a different piece of wood. During the offseason, he visited the Baseball Performance Lab in Louisiana to have his swing analyzed.

As a result, Goldschmidt swings a slightly differently weighted bat.

“It ends up being a bit heavier, but the way it is looks exactly like my old bat,” Goldschmidt said. “It’s very similar to the bat that I’ve always swung.”

Goldschmidt downplays the new bat’s role in his strong spring. And he has a point.

The know-how belongs to the craftsman, not to the tools.

“His timing, his at-bats, his tough shots, like I said, that’s what the greats do – and he’s one of the best,” third baseman Nolan Arenado said. “It’s been a lot of fun to watch. I’m excited to see it this year.”

Game Notes:
Marlins starting pitcher Elieser Hernandez left the game after being hit in the arm by a Tyler O’Neill understudy in the first inning. Hernandez spoke to Miami reporters after the game and said he was fine. Hernandez is expected to be the No. 4 starter for the Marlins. … St. Louis beat Miami 7-0 to end the spring with a 9-5 record.

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