2/26/2014 2:29 P.M. ET
Cards get a day off before Friday's spring opener
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' spring schedule shows two days off -- one next Tuesday and another two weeks later on March 18. Manager Mike Matheny has decided to insert another.
Matheny is keeping the lights off at the Cardinals' complex on Thursday, rewarding players for their efforts in workouts by telling them to stay away for the day. When the work resumes on Friday, the Cardinals will be playing their first Grapefruit League game of the season.
"We had some things we needed to accomplish. We accomplished them," said Matheny, whose club had one of the earliest report dates of any. "Now we're excited to give them a day. I wasn't 100 percent certain. It depended on if we got the work done and still is. If today turns into a zoo, I'm not ruling out that tomorrow is a day we come in and try it again."
Wednesday's workouts went seamlessly enough to not prompt Matheny to change his mind.
"We have had guys going for a good while," Matheny said. "Just like I told you early on, we have a plan for every day, things that we want to do, but we adjust according to what we see. We could see that the guys were working real hard and that this would be a good time to take a quick break."
Matheny said that the only players who may stop by the complex on Thursday are those who require treatment from the training staff.
No structural damage with Garcia's left shoulder
JUPITER, Fla. -- Left-hander Jaime Garcia received a cortisone injection in his left shoulder on Wednesday after it was determined that he is dealing with inflammation in that area. Both George Paletta, the Cardinals' team physician, and orthopedist James Andrews saw no structural damage with Garcia's surgically repaired shoulder.
"I think it's good news," general manager John Mozeliak said after hearing the report from Andrews. "We were certainly hopeful that it was not going to be something where he had to have surgery. This is certainly better than what it could have been, yes."
Garcia will return to the Cardinals' Spring Training site in Jupiter on Thursday, and the Cardinals will monitor his progress before deciding when to have Garcia restart his throwing program. Though the Cardinals are still hopeful that Garcia will be a key contributor in 2014, the expectation is that he will not be ready for the rotation by Opening Day.
It has already been more than a week since Garcia last threw off the mound.
"I think the way to look at it is really day-to-day at this point and just see where he ends up," Mozeliak said. "I would imagine it would be difficult at this moment just given the fact that he is behind. But in fairness, I think we should let the next few days or weeks unfold."
When asked if Garcia could shift to a relief role, Mozeliak said that he was not yet sure whether that would be an ideal role for the lefty. While the workload would decrease, Garcia would have to condition his shoulder to pitch on consecutive days. Garcia has not pitched in relief since 2008.
Whatever the role and whenever it is that Garcia returns to the mound, he'll be dealing with a new normal. It is not uncommon for pitchers who undergo shoulder surgery -- as Garcia did in May 2013 to address a torn rotator cuff and labrum -- to feel differently upon returning.
Said Mozeliak: "I think the days of feeling perfect are over."
Martinez apologizes for Twitter distraction
JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Martinez issued a public apology on Wednesday for the distraction created when Deadspin pointed out the volume of inappropriate images that appeared on his Twitter account. He later added that the incident has prompted him to "take a break" from social media.
"I want to acknowledge fault for what happened," Martinez said, with Moises Rodriguez, the Cardinals' director of international operations, translating. "That was my responsibility. I want to apologize to the fans, the organization. I didn't mean to cause a distraction. Obviously, it's something that you don't want to go through, but I accept responsibility, and I'm ready to move on and focus on baseball."
Martinez met with manager Mike Matheny on Tuesday to discuss the incident, at which time Matheny reminded the 22-year-old right-hander to be aware that anything he posts or "favorites" on Twitter can be viewed by all. Martinez's account has been cleaned up to remove all of the inappropriate content.
"I want to move on," Martinez said. "I apologize, and I want to reiterate what I said in the beginning -- that I don't want to become a distraction by continuing to discuss it. I'm ready to play baseball and talk about baseball."
Rosenthal feeling good, but Cards still cautious
JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after alerting the medical staff to tightness in his right groin, Trevor Rosenthal participated in a modified workout plan on Wednesday. Manager Mike Matheny reported that Rosenthal "feels pretty good today," but the Cardinals will nevertheless be cautious with his schedule for at least a few more days.
With Opening Day more than a month away, Rosenthal has plenty of time to get his arm conditioned for the regular season. He has already thrown six times (including live batting practice twice) since the start of camp. With Rosenthal already having been designated as the Cardinals' closer, he does not need to log many innings in Grapefruit League play as he did when starting was still a possibility.
Rosenthal suffered the groin strain on Tuesday, near the end of throwing live batting practice. Immediately after feeling the discomfort, Rosenthal called over a trainer and cut his session short.
"He always gives that strong statement that if it was the season, I'd be pitching right now," Matheny said. "It was a great display of his maturity when he shut it down. It was a great call on his part to be very cautious, especially since we're 30 days away or so from playing."
• Matheny said that Lance Lynn will start the Cardinals' Grapefruit League "road" game against the Marlins on Saturday. The Cardinals have not revealed their pitching plans beyond that second game.
• The Cardinals changed up their workout schedule on Wednesday to include a coach-pitch game. Players were split up into two teams, and Triple-A pitching coach Bryan Eversgerd threw to both. Outfielder Randal Grichuk went deep twice for his team, but it was Patrick Wisdom's walk-off homer that decided it for the other.
It wasn't all fun and games, either, as players on the losing team had to perform clubhouse chores -- clean the dishes, scrub cleats, take out trash, etc. -- before leaving for the day.
• MLB Network is bringing back its '30 Clubs in 30 Days' series and is scheduled to preview the Cardinals during a telecast at 9 p.m. CT on Friday, March 21.
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.