03/24/12 5:00 PM ET
Matheny feels no pressure to retain Komatsu
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
"With that being said, he's certainly proved our scouts to be right. But it's not a situation that we're obligated to if it's not what's best for this team and for us to win."
Craig could start season as pinch-hitter
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mike Matheny had to pause for a moment during his morning chat with reporters, because what he was seeing from Allen Craig in the batting cage caught his eye."Man," Matheny said, "he's coming unglued." This was, in case you're wondering, a positive term in this particular use, as Craig, less than four months removed from knee surgery, was belting balls all over the field and over the wall. And it is offensive displays such as this one that have the Cards considering breaking camp with Craig on the 25-man roster, even if his body is not yet ready for the wear and tear of position play. Craig could latch on as a pinch-hitter initially, gradually building up his ability to play right field and first base.
Furcal still finding his swing
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Rafael Furcal was a bit behind in his conditioning when he reported to Cardinals camp after having an emergency appendectomy performed in December, and he's a bit behind in terms of the results he'd like to see at the plate.Furcal entered Saturday's game against the Mets with a .188 average (6-for-32) in spring play, with one home run. "I think he's a little frustrated," manager Mike Matheny said. "Defensively, he looks good to me. But I think he's a little frustrated right now [at the plate]. We always talk about how it's only Spring Training, but if you're that guy not getting hits, you'd do anything to be that guy who the hits are falling in for. I think he's just trying to figure it out. He's still got plenty of time to get it right." Asked how many games he foresees at shortstop for Furcal, who has played fewer than 100 games in three of the last four seasons, Matheny didn't want to go there. "I'm going to use Lance [Berkman] as an example of how not to answer that question, because everybody thought a year ago if you get 100 games out of this guy, you're going to be doing really well," Matheny said. "We've got some people on our medical staff that have been able to help the guys who really want to get after it. So I'm not going to put a limit on any of them."
Lance Lynn, who will occupy the rotation spot vacated by an injured Chris Carpenter, did not have his most efficient of outings Saturday against the Mets, using up his 75-pitch count in 4 2/3 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and a strikeout. Part of the problem, though, was the error Tyler Greene committed on what would have been an inning-ending double play in the first. With the inning extended, Lynn served up a three-run homer to Ike Davis. "Guys haven't really grown accustomed, at this point in the spring, to gathering themselves after they're potentially out of an inning and getting their mind right again," manager Mike Matheny said. "It's hard to replicate that, except getting in those situations."
Lance Berkman took a pitch off his right knee in the third inning Saturday, but remained in the game.
Matt Holliday and David Freese were given scheduled days off Saturday and therefore didn't make the road trip to Port St. Lucie, Fla. It marked the first time this spring that Freese has sat out back-to-back games. "I think, in general, we've been pushing the guys pretty good," manager Mike Matheny said. "You look at their overall innings, overall at-bats, they've been going at it pretty good."
As expected, the Cards did not have any additional information on Chris Carpenter's timetable, one day after announcing he is out "indefinitely" because of a nerve condition. But Carpenter is expected to be back in Jupiter on Monday after traveling to St. Louis earlier this week to see a specialist.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon paid a visit to the Cardinals' clubhouse after Saturday's game to introduce himself to Matheny.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.