Mark Saxon ESPN Staff Writer
At first glance, the Cardinals seem crazy to call third base an open competition. One of the players vying for the spot, Jedd Gyorko, led the team with 30 home runs. The other, Jhonny Peralta, is 34 and had a negative WAR (-0.4) in 2016. But the Cardinals think Peralta's down year was largely a product of a torn thumb ligament in spring training. They saw it play out with Yadier Molina, who struggled in the first half and batted .365 after the All-Star break. "It seems the more repetitions they get or just time they get the strength back to where they look like themselves," manager Mike Matheny said. "They get that bat speed back and the power."