Cardinals' Garcia gives an update on shoulder injury

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia said Saturday that he expects to resume his throwing program next week, but will first head to Dr. James Andrews' rehab facility in Birmingham, Ala., to get further consultation from the group of physical therapists regarding his rehab program.

Garcia had Dr. Andrews examine his left shoulder Feb. 26 after the left-hander had stopped throwing due to pain. At the time, Garcia was given a cortisone shot and assurances that there was no structural damage. He was expected to wait 10-15 days before throwing again.

Garcia will head to Birmingham on Monday, then come back to the Cardinals' Spring Training complex later in the week. He hopes to return with clearance to throw.

"We have all the faith in the world in our staff, but you always have those other opinions," manager Mike Matheny said. "We got the second opinion with Andrews there and now we're going to be able to get him with his people for a couple days, make sure he's moving forward."

Regardless when Garcia starts throwing again, he will not be ready to open the season on the Cardinals' active roster.

Extensions part of Cards' long-term plan

Cards announce six-year extension for Carpenter

JUPITER, Fla. -- They lined the back of the makeshift news conference room Saturday -- Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright, Allen Craig and Matt Holliday -- watching and welcoming another into their core.

With his six-year extension now finalized, Matt Carpenter joins those four as the pillar around which the Cardinals intend to build. It is all a part of the vision set forward by principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr., who has prioritized building this Major League club through drafting, developing and then locking down the best before free agency.

"We hope that he is with the Cardinals much longer than the six years guaranteed," De Witt said of Carpenter. "He's the type of player that you would like to think could finish his career as a Cardinal, much like the gang in the back of the room there. He's an All-Star caliber player, part of a nucleus that we believe will contend for championships not just this year, but for years to come."

Molina signed his extension during Spring Training in 2012. Last spring, Wainwright and Craig got theirs. The Cardinals then started working toward this one with Carpenter in August.

"Obviously, when you think about these types of deals, it's really about trying to find the right players that we want to make part of this long term," added general manager John Mozeliak. "Matt Carpenter obviously accomplished a lot over the last couple of years. He really stood out as a young leader in this organization and someone we felt we wanted to try to find a way to sign long term."

Carpenter's deal runs longer than those for the other four, though the Cardinals, if they choose to exercise Holliday's option, could have keep all five together for at least the next four seasons.

"I'm extremely honored to be part of this long term," Carpenter said. "My teammates that are here supporting me -- Adam, Matt, Yadi and Allen -- just to be a part of the core group of guys that we have here in something special. This was a no-brainer for me going through this. We have a really special group of guys that are in that clubhouse and it's a lot of fun to be a part of."

Past injury issue, Rosenthal pleased with spring debut

Rosenthal on starting this year as closer

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though skeptical that he hit triple digits with his fastball Saturday (as the Roger Dean Stadium scoreboard advertised), Trevor Rosenthal was nonetheless pleased with how things went during his spring debut.

Rosenthal had his first Grapefruit League appearance pushed back a week after straining his groin in a live batting practice session during the final week of February. Now past the injury issue, Rosenthal continued his preparation for his first season as the team's closer with a scoreless inning Saturday.

"I felt good, especially for the first time out there," Rosenthal said. "I felt solid and pretty close to being season ready. I'm excited about that. It feels like I haven't skipped a beat since finishing last year. The mechanics and everything feels the same."

Rosenthal retired the first two batters he faced, walked the next and then got former teammate Brock Peterson to strike out swinging on a fastball that the stadium radar gun registered at 100 mph. Rosenthal wasn't quite sure about that accuracy, though manager Mike Matheny disagreed.

"It looked like 100," Matheny said. "As a matter of fact, I thought some of the pitches [starter] Michael [Wacha] was throwing were harder than it was registering. I think that was pretty consistent through the day. That's why our eye was going with what we had heard that [the radar gun] was a little light."

Instead of waiting to use Rosenthal at the end of the game, as he will be during the season, Matheny had him pitch the fourth inning so Rosenthal could face some of the players in the starting lineup.

"Towards the end [of Spring Training games], it will be more situational, but now it's just getting work in," Matheny said. "So much about that [closer] position is confidence, so we're just trying to get [Rosenthal] feeling good in this particular situation. Then get his confidence up that his stuff looks right."

Rosenthal has said he would like to make about six or seven spring appearances before the Cardinals head north.

Worth noting

• After making his spring debut Friday, Oscar Taveras returned to the Cardinals' lineup as the designated hitter Saturday. Having Taveras start consecutive games can help him begin to make up at-bats he missed from a week of not playing. Taveras went hitless in three at-bats.

Jason Motte, 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, continues to move closer toward being ready to face hitters for the first time since the procedure. Motte threw another high intensity bullpen session Saturday and could be cleared for live batting practice as early as next week.

Tyler Lyons' one-inning relief appearance Saturday, manager Mike Matheny said, is not an indication that the Cardinals have stopped looking at him as a starting candidate. Rather, the short stint was the result of the club needing to get several relievers work. In particular, the Cards wanted Zach Petrick, whose only spring appearance came March 2, back on the mound for two innings.

There is plenty of time for Lyons to be stretched out before Opening Day. However, the fact that Lyons is not being scheduled for specific starts like others competing for rotation spots indicates that he is on the outside looking in.