Cardinals spring training news from Kissimmee

Brian Walton's Tuesday notes from St. Louis Cardinals spring training action in Kissimmee, Florida.

Welcome from party sunny Kissimmee, Florida, where the St. Louis Cardinals are visiting the Houston Astros in spring training game action on Tuesday.


Cardinals go through their pre-game stretch with Lohse warming on far right.

Former Cardinals front office personnel now with Houston were popular on the field before the game. Bench coach Joe Pettini joked that he wasn't allowed to speak with us any more.

New Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow held court with current and former minor league coaches during batting practice. Former Cards numbers guru Sig Mejdal told me he has hired three into his new Astros "geek department." The group is putting their player analysis methodologies in place.

Manager Mike Matheny covered a number of topics with the media this morning.

On Skip Schumaker: Given the nature of Skip's injury, he is expected to require a rehab assignment before returning to major league action. It is not clear if a minor league stint would extend the current 4-6 week estimate.

On Allen Craig: The outfielder has been cleared to take at-bats in minor league games starting today. He is not allowed to run the bases or play in the field. That will occur in minor league games before he returns to the major league club. Opening day is still a target.

On Mark Hamilton: The first baseman has been missing from action for the last week due to a right quad injury. He has been cleared to bat in minor league games as well. Matt Adams has seen extended big league time, getting many of Hamilton's at-bats.

On the back up catcher: The manager made it clear that spring offense is secondary to how the candidates handle their defensive duties. He does not anticipate carrying three catchers or 14 position players to start the season.

On Kyle Lohse: Though Lohse is lined up for a sixth spring start after his fourth outing Tuesday, Matheny did not commit it would play out that way.

On long relief: Because he has not yet spoken with them, Matheny would not name his long relievers to start the season - other than to note that Lance Lynn has been stretched out in his role covering for Chris Carpenter. Though not mentioned, one has to wonder where Kyle McClellan fits in this equation.

On Tuesday roster cuts: The skipper said he may need to wait until the bus gets back to Jupiter tonight before he speaks with all players being cut from major league camp today/tonight. We'll have the details when released.

It was neat to watch hitting coach Mark McGwire make his way around the Cardinals clubhouse as players were dressing. He showed each starting player the lineup card with his name on it. A nice touch.

Among the Cardinals who had Monday off is Tuesday's starting third baseman and leadoff man Daniel Descalso. Daniel said he mostly rested, with his activities including a dip in the pool and a trip to the theatre to see "21 Jump Street." His review: "It was ok, not great."

The Cardinals minor leaguers brought along for the Tuesday game are infielder Jose Garcia (#96), right-handed pitcher Keith Butler (#98) plus outfielder Tommy Pham (#96). Update: Pitcher Richard Castillo was also on the trip.

Bullpen coach Dyar Miller is back with the team after attending funeral services for his brother, killed in a logging accident in Indiana.

Third baseman Matt Carpenter is among the newly-married Cardinals, having tied the knot with his long-time fiancé in December.

Link to Monday's spring training news from Orlando



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league content during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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