DETROIT -- The Tigers have named Jacob Turner their spot starter for Thursday. And as the schedule would have it, Turner, 21, will make that Major League season debut in front of one of his mentors -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
Turner was a first-round Draft pick out of Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.) in 2009, the same school Matheny's oldest son, Tate, graduated from last month. Matheny helped coach that '09 Westminster baseball team, and he used his time with Turner to impart advice about the transition to professional baseball.
"He had a lot of people who were in his ear about the mechanical side. I didn't even bother with that," Matheny said. "He was right in the middle of a senior year and was being scouted with 60-plus scouts at every game. So it wasn't the time to talk about that. But the little things -- the routine in between starts, paying close attention and keeping track, keeping a log of what works and even keeping track of hitters and to start taking that next step in professionalism of just not being a thrower, but being a pitcher - those are the things we talked about. And life things, too."
Matheny has continued to stay in touch with Turner, mostly through periodic text messages. The two families are also close, as Tate Matheny and Turner's younger brother, Luke, were four-year teammates on the Westminster team.
"He kind of helped give me an idea of what I needed to expect coming into pro ball, what Spring Training would be like or instructional league, stuff like that," Turner said. "Obviously it's a big transition from pitching in high school to pitching even in instructional league."
Thursday will mark Turner's fourth big league start, but his first against a Cardinals team he grew up cheering for. Turner is 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in seven Triple-A starts this season.
"I'm a fan of Jacob," Matheny said. "I am a fan of the young man he is and have always admired how he went about it. As a high school kid, you could see that he was ready for this. Then you start adding in the baseball talent to go along with it and he's a special kid. He's got a lot of exciting things ahead of him if he just keeps working and keeps his head like it always has been."
Cardinals slot Holliday as DH against Tigers
DETROIT -- The Cardinals' first designated-hitter assignment in Interleague Play went to Matt Holliday, who can use the night off in the field as he nurses a hip flexor injury.
The ailment is not currently serious enough to keep Holliday from playing, but the need for a DH gave the Cardinals the perfect excuse to at least cut Holliday's night's work in half. It was this same hip flexor issue that prompted manager Mike Matheny to pull Holliday for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of Sunday's loss.
Holliday's early exit was magnified when that game ended up lasting 15 innings.
- 142 wins
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"It's something we just want to keep an eye on," Matheny said of Holliday's injury. "I think he also knows that there are a couple other guys who can use a day [as well]. That list of day-to-day guys has been pretty long all season."
Faced with roster decision, Cards trim 'pen
DETROIT -- A week ago, manager Mike Matheny projected that the Cardinals would stick with an eight-man bullpen through the end of Interleague Play, noting that there would be less of a need for bench players in American League parks. The Cardinals' tour through a pair of AL cities began on Tuesday and continues for six games.
However, the Cardinals' decision to give the roster spot of reliever Maikel Cleto to utility player Skip Schumaker on Tuesday brings that bullpen count back to seven.
So what changed?
That decision, Matheny explained, was largely tied to Cleto's recent workload -- which wasn't much. The right-hander last pitched on June 8 and had logged only five innings since his May 31 callup. As a result, the Cardinals saw a need to get Cleto back to the Minors, where he can pitch on a more regular schedule.
"We were really looking at a week where we hadn't used him. It was a shame," Matheny said. "He had been throwing the ball better, and we'd like to see him get back and get some consistent workload and then have him ready in case we do need him."
The fact that the Cardinals have a mostly rested bullpen following Monday's off-day also presented the opportunity to return to a more traditional roster split of seven relievers and 13 position players. The club had been using a 13-man bullpen since June 9.
During his time with the Cardinals, Cleto allowed three earned runs on nine hits in four innings.
Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) has moved his Minor League rehab assignment from Triple-A to Double-A, due to the fact that Triple-A Memphis did not have a game on Monday. Carpenter went 0-for-3 with a walk and run scored for Springfield on Monday. He played first base in that game.
Matheny said the club is uncertain whether Carpenter will be ready to come off the disabled list while the Cardinals are in Detroit.
Chris Carpenter (right shoulder injury) has joined the Cardinals for this road trip and will continue his throwing program with a side session on Tuesday. Aside from the team's opening game in Miami, Carpenter had not been on the road with the club this season.
Jon Jay (sprained right shoulder) took batting practice on Sunday and Monday, with the latter session being observed by Matheny. The Cardinals' staff was encouraged enough by Jay's progress to send him to Omaha, where met up with the Triple-A club on Tuesday.
Jay, who has been on the DL since May 19, played five innings in center field for Memphis and went 1-for-3 at the plate.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.