JUPITER, Fla. -- It's a small victory that Kevin Jarvis still finds himself in Major League camp with the Cardinals. The club has weeded out the majority of its non-roster invitees to Spring Training, but Jarvis remains in the mix for a spot in the St. Louis bullpen.

He's one of three NRI pitchers still standing, along with Bill Pulsipher and prospect Anthony Reyes -- and Reyes has already been told he'll be headed back to the minors before long. Jarvis has outlasted contenders such as Chris Gissell, Toby Borland and Bob File, and positioned himself as a potential swingman on the big club. Not that Jarvis, who was the Padres' Opening Day starter as recently as 2002, is trying to figure it out.

"I haven't looked at it at all," Jarvis said. "As the next week evolves, they're gonna have to make some decisions obviously. It's a little hard to avoid, the later into March you get. But experience has taught me what you can control and what you don't have control of.

"Earlier in my career I might have tried to read as much as I could into the media and the Internet and things, but to be honest with you, I don't do that at all now. I try to concentrate on getting the next batter out."

It's the second year in a row that Jarvis has been in a competitive situation in the spring, rather than a get-ready-to-pitch situation. He's trying to turn that into a positive, though, rather than worrying about the pressure that comes with worrying about outcomes in March.

"You can take it two ways. It can make you feel young, or make you feel real old," Jarvis said. "I've taken the approach that I've accepted the challenge and the competition."

Izzy's back: As closer Jason Isringhausen chatted with reporters after Thursday's game, normally taciturn pitching coach Dave Duncan burst into the clubhouse and shouted, "Hey! Izzy got somebody out!" And it wasn't even the only such ribbing Isringhausen took after his first one-two-three outing of the spring.

Isringhausen himself was delighted with his ninth inning against the Nationals. He was helped out by Cody McKay on a line drive, but the right-hander went on to strike out the game's last two batters. After allowing 10 hits and six runs over his previous three innings, it was significant progress for Isringhausen.


"I felt a lot better today," Isringhausen said. "We've still got a little work to do, but I told them I want to get in as many games as I can down here. I can take three days off before the season starts or something like that, but I want to get as many in as I can here to get the repetition going with the right mechanics."

Isringhausen may pitch again on Friday.

Mulder moving along: Mark Mulder, slated to start the home opener against Philadelphia, continued the improvement he has shown in every start this spring.

The lefty pitched five shutout innings against Washington, striking out five and walking two. Since an ugly debut in which he gave up four runs and walked four batters in one inning, Mulder's ERA stands at a spiffy 3.00, and he has walked three over his past 18 innings.

"I think he's pitched pretty good, with the exception of the first game he pitched," Duncan said. "I see him progressively getting better, which is what most veteran pitchers do over the course of the spring. You've got to get to the point where you're ready to start the season.

"I think he came into camp and there was a little flaw in his delivery, and after it was pointed out, he agreed that was something he normally didn't do. He's in the process of making the correction, and for the most part he's got it corrected."

Mulder has two more exhibition starts before taking the mound on April 8 at Busch Stadium.

The Man arrives: Cardinals legend Stan Musial made his annual appearance at Spring Training on Thursday. The 84-year-old legend, who played his entire career with the Redbirds, dropped by the clubhouse before Thursday afternoon's game.

Musial renewed acquaintances and met some of the team's newcomers, and even signed a couple of autographs for admiring ballplayers. Musial attended the afternoon game from the Cardinals owners' suite at Roger Dean Stadium.

New old lefty: Cardinals broadcaster Rick Horton, who pitched for the team from 1984-87 and 1989-90, has been throwing some batting practice to minor leaguers this week. Horton has been so busy with the bonus job that he actually conducted a television interview with David Eckstein while wearing the clothes in which he worked out.

Coming up: Friday brings a rare early start at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cards get started against the Tigers at 11:05 a.m. CT, with Chris Carpenter on the mound.

Jeff Suppan starts the other half of the split-squad day, getting the ball against the Dodgers at Vero Beach at 12:05 p.m. CT. It's St. Louis' only trip to Dodgertown this spring.

Anthony Reyes pitches Saturday against the Astros in Kissimmee, also at 12:05 p.m. CT.