02/19/12 5:50 PM EST
Cards mixing veterans with prospects at camp
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
A gesture that Carpenter may or may not have made deliberately captured Jenkins' attention. It was, at least in Jenkins' eyes, validation that he could fit in.
At 19 years old, Jenkins is the youngest player participating in the Cardinals' Major League Spring Training camp. It was no accident then that when manager Mike Matheny separated the pitchers into groups of three or four that Jenkins landed in a quartet with Carpenter, who was drafted before Jenkins' first birthday.
This idea of pairing the most experienced with the youngsters was proposed by Matheny and immediately embraced by the veterans.
"Not every organization has guys that want to buy into that," Matheny said. "I think they see the bigger picture that we have the opportunity to influence this organization for years to come. And if we put some of these kids out there on Field Z near Egypt, there's not going to be much of a chance to see how these guys go about things on a daily basis."
Joining Jenkins and Carpenter in the first group to throw on Sunday was 24-year-old Lance Lynn and 23-year-old Joe Kelly. Top prospect Shelby Miller was put in a group with Adam Wainwright, while John Gast and Brandon Dickson were among those to throw alongside Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia.
"I asked [Carpenter] five to 10 questions already today, just small things," Jenkins said. "It's really good to have someone like that who you can look up to and ask questions to. Hopefully I can soak up a lot, and maybe someday I will be able to pass some of it down to someone younger than me."
Matheny delivers simple message to Cards
JUPITER, Fla. -- Mike Matheny kept his message to pitchers and catchers brief on Sunday, the first official day of workouts at Cardinals camp.
His dialogue began with the necessary introductions and was followed by some thoughts about the tradition of the organization and the concept of the Cardinal way. Matheny laid out expectations and also let everyone know about his plan to intentionally mix all experience levels during workouts this year. He placed the onus of example on the veterans, who, in the past, have often been somewhat segregated from the less established players.
Matheny, who will address a larger group before Friday's first full-squad workout, said he intended to keep the message simple, short and pointed. He actually began workouts about 45 minutes earlier than expected on Sunday, too, as the morning physicals were completed quicker than expected.
"I don't think anybody's expectations are going to be higher than what ours are for ourselves," Matheny said. "Up to this point, it's just been a lot of talk. It's time to go get busy."
All 38 pitchers and catchers reported in time to participate in Sunday's workout. The last to arrive was lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who was recovering from a recent bout of pink eye and bronchitis. Rzepczynski had intended to arrive on Friday before he fell ill.
Catcher Yadier Molina, whose Spring Training locker had always been adjacent to that of Albert Pujols, said he and the former Cardinals first baseman remain in regular communication. Asked how long it took to get over Pujols' departure, Molina said any bitterness was gone after one day. "I was sad when I heard it and the news came out," he explained. "At the same time, I was happy for him."
It appears as if the backup catcher's job will be a competition that extends deep into Spring Training. General manager John Mozeliak said on Sunday that three candidates -- Tony Cruz, Bryan Anderson and Koyie Hill -- will all get strong looks.
Pitchers and catchers all underwent physicals on Sunday and manager Mike Matheny reported that there were no medical issues discovered. None of the 30 pitchers have any current limitations in their throwing programs.
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.