02/21/2013 4:17 PM ET
Wainwright on schedule to start Opening Day
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright will make his first Grapefruit League start on Monday, putting the right-hander on schedule to be the Cardinals' Opening Day starter against the D-backs on April 1.
Manager Mike Matheny has not officially announced that Opening Day assignment, but Wainwright has long appeared to be the obvious candidate for the start. His schedule now only further affirms that. If Wainwright pitches every fifth day beginning next Monday against the Astros (12:05 p.m. CT), his spot would fall on that April 1 date.
In between, Wainwright would have enough time to make as many as seven Grapefruit League starts because of the extended spring schedule. Asked if that would be too much work for Wainwright during Spring Training, Matheny said, "We'll just watch and see how it plays out."
Last spring, Wainwright made five starts (18 2/3 innings) prior to his regular-season debut.
Furcal slowed by bone spur in ailing right elbow
JUPITER, Fla. -- Rafael Furcal refrained from swinging left-handed or throwing with much effort on Thursday under the directive of the Cardinals, who have encouraged Furcal to be cautious with his ailing right elbow.
"It still hurts," Furcal said of his elbow. Asked the degree to which it hurt, Furcal answered, "A lot."
Furcal suffered a partially torn ligament in his right elbow last August and missed the rest of the season as a result. The biggest issue now, though, is a bone spur in the elbow. Furcal has taken anti-inflammatory pills to try and diffuse some of the pain. To this point, he has not had a cortisone injection, though he hasn't ruled out the possibility of needing one at a later point.
"I can throw maybe 30-, 40-, 50-percent all day long," Furcal said. "I'm ready to play, but in my mind, I don't want to be playing shortstop and they [hit] me one ball and then I try to push it so hard and then it hurts."
The switch-hitting Furcal said his elbow felt "a little tight" on Thursday morning, one day after taking several swings from both sides of the plate. Furcal took a few cuts from the right side during batting practice Thursday. He did not participate in live batting practice against Lance Lynn with the rest of his group.
Furcal continues to be a regular participant in fielding drills, and that was no different on Thursday. He does not, though, follow the lead of the other infielders and throw across the field at max effort.
The Cardinals do not intend to play Furcal in the team's first few Grapefruit Leagues. When he does get involved, it will likely be as a designated hitter. That will give Furcal the opportunity to track live pitching without leaving him susceptible to straining his elbow while playing on defense.
"I want to keep doing [work] because I don't want to sit down and wait for [the elbow] to get better," Furcal said. "I want to go to the field and keep doing my stuff, take a lot of groundballs, move my feet. I don't want to sit down."
The Cardinals continue to maintain that Furcal should be ready for Opening Day, though the bone spur issue is one that had been unanticipated coming into Spring Training.
Miller resumes throwing, remains on track
JUPITER, Fla. -- Right-hander Shelby Miller resumed throwing on Thursday, a day after he skipped a scheduled live batting practice session due to soreness in his right shoulder.
Miller didn't get on the mound Thursday but did report feeling no problems after throwing with fellow first-rounder Michael Wacha on flat ground for about 10 minutes.
"I feel good, really good," Miller said. "I'm stretching a little bit better."
Miller, who is competing for a spot in the Cardinals' rotation, said that he plans to throw a side session on Friday, which means he'd hardly be behind schedule.
The Cardinals had planned to start Miller in Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox (12:05 p.m. CT) until he reported feeling some lingering soreness in his shoulder after throwing last Saturday. Neither Miller nor the Cardinals have committed to when the right-hander -- ranked by MLB.com as the organization's top pitching prospect -- will now see his first game action.
• John Gast and Tyler Lyons, both of whom spent the majority of the 2012 season in Triple-A Memphis' rotation, will make their Grapefruit League debuts on Sunday. Gast is scheduled to start the game against the Red Sox (12:05 p.m. CT); Lyons will follow him. Both are expected to throw about two innings (40 pitches).
• The Cardinals and Marlins have scheduled a "B" game on Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. ET on the Cardinals' side of the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Though the two teams are slated to play in a Grapefruit League game later that day, the "B" game will give manager Mike Matheny the chance to find at-bats for additional players that day.
• Matheny projected that Oscar Taveras will get some playing time at all three outfield positions this spring. Taveras, the club's top prospect, is participating in his first big league camp.
• Right-hander Carlos Martinez remains stuck in the Dominican Republic, where he is awaiting his visa approval. The Cardinals still do not know when to anticipate Martinez's arrival in Florida.
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.