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Steve Keim Throws First Pitch, Talks Cardinals

Posted Jul 19, 2016

General Manager discusses roster as training camp beckons

Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim throws out the first pitch at the Diamondbacks game on Tuesday night.

General Manager Steve Keim is calm and collected when it comes to Cardinals personnel moves, and that steely reserve has helped build a Super Bowl contender.

He was decidedly less cool on Tuesday night as the moments ticked down to his ceremonial first pitch before the Diamondbacks-Blue Jays game at Chase Field.

“I’m extremely nervous about that pitch tonight,” Keim told a group of fans during a question-and-answer session before the throw. “I just pray that I don’t dribble it to home plate. I promised (former Cardinals safety and current scout) Adrian Wilson, who dribbled it himself years ago when he threw, that I would do a much better job. I did bring the heat when I was younger, but it’s been years and years since I threw a baseball.”

The toss ended up high and a bit outside, but Keim accomplished his goal of not hitting the ground. Afterward, he watched the game from the stands with his family, soaking up one of the final days of leisure before training camp ramps up next week.

Keim’s mind is never far from football, though, and he took some time after the first pitch to answer a few questions:

* Keim confirmed that Chris Culliver will visit the Cardinals next week. The former 49ers and Redskins cornerback signed a four-year, $32 million contract with Washington in 2015 but tore his ACL and MCL on Thanksgiving and was released in May. Keim likes the fact that Culliver is a “longer, athletic press corner” but knows the injury history. Culliver, 27, has suffered two serious knee injuries in the past three years. “He’s a guy that’s had some success in the NFL and is coming off the ACL, so we’ll see where it goes next week.”

* Three or four players will likely start training camp on the physically unable to perform list, Keim said. While he didn’t give names, educated guesses would include safety Tyrann Mathieu (knee), defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (ankle) and outside linebacker Zack Wagenmann (foot). Keim said guard Evan Mathis, who sat out minicamp following minor surgery, is expected to be ready to go.

* Keim on contract extension talks with players like Mathieu and defensive tackle Calais Campbell: “Hopeful, but people ask all the time whether I think we’re close or we’re not. I don’t think it’s fair for us or the player to make a comment because, really, I don’t know what close is anymore. We’ll just continue to stay aggressive, though. That’s the one thing I’ve said earlier: Whether it’s signing players, whether it’s readjusting guys who need to be signed for extensions, we’ll continue to stay aggressive and try to keep our foot on the gas pedal.” Keim doesn’t have a timeframe in which he’d like to get an extension done, but said “there are always points in a negotiation when it’s more pressing than not.”

* Offensive tackle will be a position Keim keeps an eye on, but he raved about the strides made by last year’s first-round pick, D.J. Humphries, who is projected to start at right tackle. “We’ll continue to monitor that position. The one thing that has been exciting for us has been the development so far of D.J. He had a really strong offseason. He continued to grow and get better. Not only matured mentally, but matured physically. Yesterday I saw him and he was around 310 pounds. He’s gained some weight, he’s gotten stronger, and really honed his craft as far as technique and footwork, which were really the areas he needed to improve.”

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