Cardinals spring news from Jupiter: 03/23

Brian Walton's Friday notes from St. Louis Cardinals major and minor league spring training camps in Jupiter, Florida.

Friday is a warm, sunny and dry day at St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida. No news is considered good news for a club that is going to miss Chris Carpenter and Skip Schumaker to start the season, but is growing more optimistic daily that Allen Craig could return.

The major league club prepared to entertain the Florida Marlins as the "visiting" club in the 1:00 P.M. game at Roger Dean Stadium. The five minor league clubs will also "travel" to the Marlins side of the facility for their afternoon matchups.

Former Cardinals pitcher and Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat was in the complex this morning.

From the morning Matheny briefing

There is nothing new on the Chris Carpenter front just yet, but the club still might have another update before the end of the day.

The opening rotation will be Lohse, Garcia, Wainwright, Lynn and Westbrook. Five games before that start, Jake will pitch in a simulated game in Florida. None of the five rotation members will make the trip to Springfield. The club is not yet ready to announce the travel roster.

Due to the new labor agreement, players now receive two days off in the spring, instead of one before. March 27 is the only day off on the schedule – "way too late" for Matheny's tastes. Most of the players took their other day off on the Orlando/Kissimmee schedule at the start of this week.

Getting his players rest is a key theme for the manager. He noted he has played outfielder Erik Komatsu something like 16 games in a row. At the other end of the spectrum, Koyie Hill is starting Friday behind the plate as Matheny noted Hill has received fewer at bats than catching competitors Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson.

Matheny was pleased with Allen Craig's day on Thursday and noted more of the same is in store today. At-bats in minor league games, outfield drills, etc. Next will be to take grounders in the infield. The manager closed that part of his discussion by noting he still hoped to see Craig in "Cactus League" action before the spring ends. That gave everyone a chuckle.

Daniel Descalso continues to draw praise from the skipper, as he continues to "put together nice at-bats." On the other hand, Tyler Greene is "not taking leadoff at-bats." The manager did note that Greene has "hit four balls into the wind that would have gone out anywhere." Matheny meant that Greene needs to take pitches and get on base. Greene's current spring OBP is .333. Descalso's is a whopping .500.

Carlos Beltran is only batting fifth Friday because David Freese is getting a day off. Matheny made it clear his overall plan is to bat Beltran second.

Asked about his plans to fill Skip Schumaker's roster spot, Matheny said that ability to play in centerfield "is not a big piece." He noted that Shane Robinson can play there, as can Adron Chambers, who is "still learning the game." Also the manager noted that "Komatsu has a good centerfield skill set."

Matheny also noted he has second base flexibility with Descalso, Greene and Alex Cora. The latter is considered a four infield position player and the manager reminded us that he can play the outfield, too. Matt Carpenter, however, is considered by Matheny to be primarily a third baseman and is not a candidate for either of Skip's roles.

The next roster cuts may occur "close" to the day off on the 27th, replied the manager.

Matheny hopes to put behind Lance Berkman's episode of charging extortion against Bud Selig. The first baseman and the MLB commissioner spoke on Thursday. "I don't imagine it will happen again," was the manager's summary.

Minor league news

Good news on the Tommy Pham front. Injured making a diving play in the outfield on Thursday, the 24-year-old with a checkered injury history was participating in morning workouts on Friday. His problem Thursday was characterized as a stinger with no long-term damage believed.

Once-popular reliever Casey Mulligan has decided not to undergo Tommy John surgery and remains retired. I spoke with his Mom, Kelly, who has worked at Roger Dean Stadium the past three years just to be around the game. Casey is planning to start college in Palm Beach soon, Kelly reports.

Lefty Pat Daugherty, who I noted yesterday was throwing 86-88 MPH, has been released. He allowed five baserunners in three innings of work on Thursday. Selected in the 12th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Daugherty pitched for Batavia last season, where he ERA was 7.11. In three seasons in the system, the 23-year-old finished with a 6.01 ERA.

My guess is the next minor league cuts may occur around Sunday. 161 players are active in minor league camp with six on rehab schedules.

Many, many more photos and interviews will follow over the upcoming days.

Link to Thursday's spring training news from Jupiter
Link to Wednesday's spring training news from Jupiter
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 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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