Cardinals spring news from Jupiter: 03/21

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

It has been an odd morning in St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp on Wednesday. Between dodging intermittent rain, there is an owners meeting that apparently delayed manager Mike Matheny from his typical mid-morning press briefing. All the owners spots in the parking lot are filled. No helicopter arrivals – at least yet.

The players had their morning workout on Field 1, with the main field being kept covered. The Cardinals are doing everything possible to ensure the major league game gets in.

Of course, the news that ace Chris Carpenter has returned to St. Louis amid increased concerns about his neck have also cast some uncertainty over camp.

Related that subject, the soaked tarps were pulled off the mounds behind the building so Lance Lynn could make his side session. He did so at 10 am throwing to bullpen catcher Jamie Pogue and under the watchful eye of pitching coach Derek Lilliquist.

Whitey Herzog arrived in camp and immediately after donning his familiar #24 jersey, he joined fellow Hall of Famer Red Schoendienst while riding shotgun on a golf cart. After renewing acquaintances with some of the coaches, the two took off to check out the action on the back fields. Another Hall of Famer, Lou Brock, also remains in camp.

The MLB Network crew was most visible in camp with Harold Reynolds interviewing Lance Berkman in the background of this photo. Outfielder Erik Komatsu is in the foreground, talking with Channel 5.

Matheny emerged around 11 am and of course, the questions were about Carpenter. The 36-year-old will have tests today and tomorrow to identify the source of neck and shoulder discomfort.

The manager announced his opening day starter, Kyle Lohse. Jake Westbrook will start game 2 of the season and the starting five will remain in sequence. Adam Wainwright looks to be taking the ball in game 3 as Matheny formally proclaimed him the starter for the home opener on Friday, April 13.

Matheny was enthused about Allen Craig's progress. After four at-bats on Tuesday, the outfielder is scheduled to take some ground balls and do outfield work today, still in the minor league complex.

Mark Hamilton, who has missed more than a week with a quad injury, will be available again for major league duty starting today. The first baseman played in minor league action on Tuesday.

Matheny said he has been "impressed" with Rule 5 addition Erik Komatsu, who is "making a strong case" to open the season with St. Louis.

I will be spending much of the afternoon on the back fields watching minor league action, assuming the rain stays away. The Mets are going to make a late-morning call on the readiness of their fields. Either Palm Beach and Quad Cities will travel to Port St. Lucie as planned or the two will play each other here in Jupiter.

There is a bit of bad news about outfielder C.J. McElroy that could have been much worse. The 18-year-old was struck in the face by a batted ball when attempting a stolen base. Dazed by the impact, McElroy then sprained his ankle. There are no broken bones, but he is expected to be out until sometime in April.

Update: Wednesday's minor league games have been canceled due to the wet grounds. Players did side work in the cages and in dry areas.

Thursday will be a camp day with two games at 10 A.M. Memphis and Springfield will face off with Palm Beach taking on Quad Cities (White). To see recent working rosters, click here.

More to come….

Link to Tuesday's spring training news from Kissimmee
Link to Monday's spring training news from Orlando

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

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