Cardinals Spring Training Camp Notes: 03/12

Friday's St. Louis Cardinals major and minor league camp news from Jupiter, Florida.

Others may think left-hander Jaime Garcia needs to be handled carefully after having Tommy John Surgery 19 months ago. The pitcher isn't one of them. "That was the goal – to come into camp with no limitations whatsoever, and that is where I am. I am very happy about that," he told me.

Catcher Bryan Anderson affirms he is not having any lingering problems with his throwing shoulder despite worries late last season that surgery would be required. It remains to be seen whether or not his power will ever emerge, concern which has him dropping down various top prospect lists.

Adam Ottavino was among the earliest arrivals in camp, having driven down from New York in an early-February snowstorm. The right-hander trained at a Long Island facility with Jose Reyes and others this winter, but longed to get outside. While he doesn't mind pitching in any weather, Ottavino says he doesn't like doing drills in the cold wind.

I witnessed an odd clubhouse scene as David Freese stood up holding Joe Mather's liner out taut so Joe could use a pair of scissors to turn the long sleeves into short. I joked with Mather to be careful with the team's favorite to start at third base in such close proximity to the sharp instrument.

Lance Lynn doesn't seem to mind about missing out on pitching in the Arizona Fall League last October and November, feeling it would have been a "waste" for him to be there as a reliever. He had already logged over 150 innings in the regular season, so starting was out of the question.

I talked with Shane Robinson directly about his requested second base experiment. He said he was an infielder until he reported to high school, where his coach moved him to centerfield. Robinson said he took some grounders in high school at second and played there a few times late in games, but that was the last time. As reported before, it is not a position change, but instead a desire to be more versatile.

Tony La Russa noted on Thursday that Shelby Miller may be kept in major league camp longer as long as he can get his work in. The manager commented on the 19-year-old's composure and noted Miller could get another game appearance because "we are not that deep." Still, he acknowledged that Miller will be in the minor leagues this season, just to make sure the praise was not misinterpreted.

La Russa offered a contrast with Garcia, a pitcher he called an "energy guy" on the mound, reminding us the emotion can be ok if not allowed to become a distraction. The manager also used the term "piss and vinegar" to characterize Garcia's makeup.

With all the deservedly positive comments about Garcia lately, the manager also made it clear his and Duncan's ideal is for a starter to spend an entire year at Memphis, followed by a year in the major league bullpen to get indoctrinated. La Russa pointed out that Garcia has neither. A long discussion about Adam Wainwright's use in 2006 ensued.

The emotion line directly led to a discussion of Brendan Ryan's playing style, as the manager characterized different types of aggressiveness. He mentioned Ryan is getting the reputation of a guy often banged up and strongly implied his style of play may be a contributing factor. La Russa also bristled when being told of Ryan's estimates for his return, saying the media should be asking him those questions.

Though games have begun, the major leaguers have continued to work on a myriad of drills each day. Following are the most recent two days worth of schedules, from Wednesday and Thursday, otherwise known as Days #21 and #22 of camp.

The major league players attended their annual meeting with the Players Association (MLBPA) from 8-10 a.m. Friday.

The minor leaguers, in their first day of full camp, are dealing with Friday's rain. In the morning, the hurlers are attending "Pitching School", where they are being tutored of the Cardinal way of backing up bases, pick off plays, how to do fielding drills, how to throw live batting practice, etc.

The hitters are in four groups in the covered cages, then will be attend presentations on subjects like cut and relay, baserunning and other lectures. If the weather breaks, there will be the scheduled bullpens and catch for the position players.

Update: Noon Friday

Almost as soon as the rain let up, the Cardinals took to the outfield grass on the back fields.

On Field 1, strength and conditioning coach Pete Prinzi took the major league position players through sprints and throwing, while others took BP in the covered cages. Albert Pujols was among them.

Under a red umbrella, Bill Parcells had a long chat with Tony La Russa while an NFL Films crew recorded the proceedings.

Dave Duncan had the pitchers in a meeting with a hitters meeting following.

The minor league pitchers took to Fields 5 and 6 for throwing drills. One group was receiving direction from pitching instructor Brent Strom.

Second update: 12:30 p.m.

What must have been the entire Roger Dean Stadium grounds crew was working on the mounds outside the clubhouse and got them in good enough condition for a number of pitchers to throw. There were waves of pitchers six wide throwing to two sets of catchers.

Just about every minor league coach was watching and a number of the major league pitchers, done with their work for the day and some wait for rides, were taking it in as well. They included Rich Hill, Adam Ottavino, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Blake Hawksworth.

By 1 p.m., the rain was coming down again in earnest. While the major leaguers sprinted to their cars, the minor leaguers continued to throw.

I snapped these when the group was four instead of six. Before the rain got too bad again, five of the six scheduled groups got their work in. Not bad considering the weather.

Previous camp notes: March 10

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2010 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories