Wainwright one step closer to return

Cards ace is expected to throw live BP on Sunday

Wainwright one step closer to return

JUPITER, Fla. -- With all having gone well in a high-intensity bullpen session on Thursday, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright is expected to face hitters the next time he takes the mound.

It will be his own teammates stepping in against him when he throws live batting practice on Sunday. But that step alone moves Wainwright closer to being ready for Grapefruit League action. He is unsure whether he'll go through the live BP exercise once or twice before being cleared for his first spring start.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Key questions heading into Grapefruit play

Status of Garcia, chances of Martinez seizing starting job among Cardinals' hot topics

Key questions heading into Grapefruit play

JUPITER, Fla. -- After nearly two weeks of fielding fundamentals, bullpen sessions and batting practice, the Cardinals will move on to the next phase of Spring Training with the start of their Grapefruit League season on Thursday. They'll face the Marlins first, with Thursday's first pitch scheduled for 12:05 p.m. CT at Roger Dean Stadium.

The team's rotation competition will get the spotlight early, as Carlos Martinez, Marco Gonzales and Jaime Garcia are scheduled to start the Cardinals' first three spring games. But filling out that rotation isn't the only item on the Cards' spring to-do list.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny channels inner catcher for Gonzales, Tuivailala

Young pitchers take advantage of off-day to throw bullpen session to Cards' skipper

Matheny channels inner catcher for Gonzales, Tuivailala

JUPITER, Fla. -- While most players enjoyed a day away from the Cardinals' spring complex on Wednesday, a pair of young pitchers who did report to throw off the mound ended up with the added perk of getting to pitch to their manager.

Taking advantage of a shortage of available catchers, Mike Matheny returned to a familiar position, first to catch Marco Gonzales and then Sam Tuivailala. He was part catcher, part instructor, chirping out encouragement and directives frequently during each session.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Handful of Cards participate in light off-day workout

Handful of Cards participate in light off-day workout

JUPITER, Fla. -- With players having earned an off-day on Wednesday by completing a "27 outs" exercise to end workouts the day before, the Cardinals' spring complex was low on activity the day before the team opens Grapefruit League play.

Some members of manager Mike Matheny's coaching staff made an appearance, though most had vacated the facility by 11 a.m. ET. The only players to report were those who had specific things they needed to accomplish. That included six pitchers -- John Gast, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, Sam Freeman, Sam Tuivailala and Dean Kiekhefer -- who each threw a bullpen session.

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a href="mailto:jenifer.langosch@mlb.com">Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Wacha puts tough postseason in the past

Cards righty gave up walk-off, pennant-winning homer in Game 5 of 2014 NLCS

Wacha puts tough postseason in the past

JUPITER, Fla. -- The first two years in the Major Leagues have presented the highest of highs and lowest of lows for Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha.

"It has been a crazy last couple of years," Wacha said on Tuesday before the Cards worked out on their fields behind Roger Dean Stadium. "Honestly, I couldn't have imagined everything that's happened since I've been drafted. Just making the big leagues, it's obviously a dream come true."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny still recovering from HBP in 1998

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Matheny still recovering from HBP in 1998

As much as Mike Matheny impresses with his ability to still get behind the plate to catch his pitchers (he did so again on Wednesday), few of them know much about the playing career that preceded his managerial tenure. If anybody wanted to dive into that education, there's no better place to start than here.

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Matheny names pitchers for first three Grapefruit games

After day off, Martinez, Gonzales, Garcia will open Cards' spring slate

Matheny names pitchers for first three Grapefruit games

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny outlined his pitching alignment for the first three games of the Grapefruit League season and said he was giving his club a well-deserved day off on Wednesday. Their Grapefruit League schedule begins on Thursday against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

As Matheny previously stated, Carlos Martinez will get the start on Thursday, but Matheny shifted gears and will have Tim Cooney follow him in. It was originally supposed to be Tyler Lyons.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wainwright throws 41 pitches in bullpen session

Cards' ace has been limited by an abdominal strain

Wainwright throws 41 pitches in bullpen session

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though still limited in running and agility work, Adam Wainwright received the go-ahead from the training staff and returned to the mound on Monday to throw his first bullpen session in 10 days. Wainwright threw 41 pitches in the session, describing it afterward as "exactly what I wanted it to be."

Wainwright had last thrown off the mound on the day of the Cardinals' first official workout. After that, he began limiting his work due to an abdominal strain, an injury sustained while lifting weights during a voluntary workout at the team's complex on Feb. 16. But because Wainwright does not feel discomfort in his abdominal area when throwing, he will continue to build up arm strength while slowing incorporating other exercises back into his workouts.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter plans to be aggressive, but smart

Cardinals' leadoff hitter seeks balanced approach at the plate

Carpenter plans to be aggressive, but smart

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals have shown no indication that they plan to change Matt Carpenter's placement in their lineup. However, if Carpenter accomplishes what he has set as a season goal, he'll take a different look back into the familiar spot atop the batting order.

Calling his 2014 postseason "an awakening," Carpenter hopes to take pieces of who he has been each of the last two seasons and mold himself a little differently in his third full season as a starting infielder. The ambition is lofty given that it's coming from a player on the heels of consecutive All-Star seasons.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Single-game tickets go on sale Friday

Cardinals also announce plans for an Ultimate Fan Video Contest

Single-game tickets go on sale Friday

JUPITER, Fla. -- Single-game tickets for the Cardinals' 81 regular-season home games will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CT, the organization announced on Monday. Fans intending to purchase tickets to at least three home games can enjoy early access to tickets, beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

The Cardinals will open their home schedule with a game against the Brewers at 3:15 p.m. on April 13, and they will host Interleague opponents the Tigers (May 15-17), Royals (June 12-14) and White Sox (June 30 and July 1) later in the season. The organization previously announced 45 promotional dates, including seven bobblehead giveaways and several items to commemorate the 1985 National League Champions.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

Candidate for Cardinals' rotation will throw between 30-40 pitches

Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- In mapping out their spring pitching schedule, the Cardinals have decided to give Carlos Martinez not just a long look, but also the first one, as Martinez pursues a job in the starting rotation.

Manager Mike Matheny announced that Martinez will start the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins on Thursday (12:05 pm CT). Martinez will be capped at around 40 pitches, which the Cardinals hope is sufficient enough for the right-hander to finish two innings.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peralta comfortable after proving himself in 2014

Shortstop says 'it was tough for me' in beginning of first year with Cardinals

Peralta comfortable after proving himself in 2014

JUPITER, Fla. -- From an outsider's view, not much seems different about Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta this spring. He remains reserved inside the clubhouse but also mentors Spanish-speaking players. He goes about his work with a businesslike approach but also with a smile.

And yet, Peralta insists that so much has changed from last year to this one.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Grichuk swings, says back has improved

Cardinals outfielder hasn't participated in full workouts for a few days

Grichuk swings, says back has improved

JUPITER, Fla. -- With an eye on being cleared to return to the field on Monday, Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk increased his work in the batting cages on Sunday and reported improvement with his lower back afterward.

"Barring being absolutely sore tomorrow," Grichuk said, "I expect to be full activity tomorrow."

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jay likely out for Grapefruit League opener

Outfielder working way back from offseason surgery on left wrist

Jay likely out for Grapefruit League opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though Jon Jay has been participating in the position players' on-field workout rotations since full-squad workouts began, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny acknowledged on Sunday that Jay likely won't be ready to start the team's Grapefruit League opener on Thursday.

Jay is wrapping up his recovery from a scope of his left wrist, a procedure that Jay had just days after the 2014 season ended but one that cut into his offseason work. He required surgery after battling discomfort in his wrist during the second half of the year.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Mike Bauman

Matheny expects big bounce-back from his hitters

Cardinals won NL Central in 2014 despite slumping across the board on offense

Matheny expects big bounce-back from his hitters

JUPITER, Fla. -- In some quarters, the entire National League has already been conceded to the Washington Nationals. They had, after all, one of the best rotations in baseball last season, then added the king of the free-agent pitching class, Max Scherzer.

But anyone who ignores the St. Louis Cardinals in a discussion of the NL's best clubs -- or baseball's best clubs, for that matter -- has not been paying particularly close attention.

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Mike Bauman is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former MLB star Minoso passes away

Club's first black ballplayer was 9-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glover

Former MLB star Minoso passes away

Native Cubans could move to the big leagues without dealing much in politics, secrecy and defection six decades ago. Cuban baseball talent was highly regarded and increasingly desirable. Not coincidentally, Minnie Minoso was at the forefront of the international game then. His baseball skills caught the eye. His distinctive name caught the ear. And his warm and engaging personality made him an uncommonly popular figure anywhere he played -- no, anywhere he went -- and helped forge a legacy that, to this day, prompts baseball folks to smile.

Minoso died Sunday at age 90 -- 34 years after his final at-bat in the big leagues, the one that made him the second player in Major League history to appear in games in five decades. Had Bill Veeck, baseball's ultimate showman, lived into the summer of 1990, Minoso probably would have played in six, and perhaps ended his 14-year slump at three at-bats.

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Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Taste of Majors fuels Tuivailala at Cardinals camp

Pitching prospect learned much from his first big league experience

Taste of Majors fuels Tuivailala at Cardinals camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Sam Tuivailala, 22, acknowledges that he was a little overwhelmed last September when the Cardinals called him up to the big leagues.

"Words can't really describe it. It's everything that you always dreamed of," the right-hander said prior to the Cardinals' workout on Saturday at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

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Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Piscotty makes tweaks to bolster his power

Cardinals' top prospect hopes to drive the ball more this season

Piscotty makes tweaks to bolster his power

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's only a matter of time before Stephen Piscotty, the Cardinals' top prospect, is given his shot at the MLB level. The sooner his power increases, the sooner that might happen.

Piscotty, at Spring Training camp as a non-roster invitee, had a .288 batting average with nine home runs and 69 RBIs in 500 at-bats at Triple-A Memphis last year. He's hit only 28 homers in the Minors since being a first-round pick out of Stanford in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. It's an aspect of the 24-year-old outfielder's game that he worked on during the winter and will focus on during Spring Training.

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Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals mix hitters with pitchers to talk 'shop'

Matheny has players discuss strategy while working out indoors due to rain

Cardinals mix hitters with pitchers to talk 'shop'

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's too early in Spring Training to be taking a day off just because of lousy weather.

So when rain forced the Cardinals indoors for workouts Friday, manager Mike Matheny decided to use part of the time for discussion groups among the players and coaches. Pitchers and hitters were divided into groups to discuss various situations that might happen in games.

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Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Waino returns to camp; hopes to throw off mound Monday

Despite abdominal strain, ace could make first spring start in 2-3 weeks

Waino returns to camp; hopes to throw off mound Monday

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright returned to Cardinals camp on Friday, one day after a St. Louis-area specialist diagnosed him with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from continuing through a spring throwing program.

Wainwright, who described the diagnosis as "the news I expected to hear," resumed long toss on Friday and said he will play flat-ground catch over the weekend. He is then to be re-evaluated on Monday, when he will seek clearance to resume throwing off the mound. Wainwright's fielding, running and work in the weight room will be limited for a while, but his throwing does not have to be.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rain doesn't keep Cardinals from work at camp

Matheny has players do several activities inside club's spring complex

Rain doesn't keep Cardinals from work at camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Using all the rooms, nooks and crannies that their spring complex had to offer, the Cardinals were able to salvage a day of work on Friday despite the persistent rain that left the fields too soggy for much outdoor activity.

With Friday being just the third day of full-squad workouts, manager Mike Matheny wanted to get creative in building a schedule that would still allow players to maximize their time at the facility. That meant sending players in the hallways for sled pulls, opening up the multipurpose room for stretching and creating time for conversation.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Consistent Cardinals have few worries

GM Mozeliak puts St. Louis in position to again contend for World Series title

Consistent Cardinals have few worries

JUPITER, Fla. -- Once more, they have very few question marks. As usual, they have high expectations. In that way, the St. Louis Cardinals never seem to change much.

"I think that's what we take the most pride in," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.

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Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Villanueva calls role with MLBPA 'special'

Right-hander 'felt a responsibility' to bring Latin American voice to conversation

Villanueva calls role with MLBPA 'special'

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though not the longest-tenured Major Leaguer in the Cardinals' clubhouse this spring, Carlos Villanueva may just be the most well-versed in the business of baseball.

Villanueva, invited to Cardinals camp on a Minor League deal, continues to serve as an alternate representative on the executive board of the MLB Players Association. Working in that capacity, Villanueva has embraced the chance to be a players' voice at the bargaining table and also to learn about the history of labor agreements. The cumulative experience, Villanueva said, has given him a deeper appreciation for the game.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Notes from Cardinals spring camp, Feb. 27

St. Louis will resume live batting practice on Sunday

Notes from Cardinals spring camp, Feb. 27

JUPITER, Fla. -- From a rain-soaked complex in southern Florida, here are some items of note regarding the Cardinals' workout schedule and what lies ahead:

• Though the rain wouldn't have permitted it anyhow, live batting practice was off the Cardinals' workout schedule on Friday and will be missing again on Saturday. This represents a deviation from last spring's schedule, which had the pitchers broken up into three groups, each of which threw to hitters on every third day. This year, the Cardinals split the group in half, allowing for more live BP sessions in a two-day sequence and then two days off.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Adam Wainwright celebrates medical news with ribs

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Adam Wainwright celebrates medical news with ribs

Adam Wainwright was already having a pretty great day on Thursday by the time he arrived at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to complete his 24-hour jaunt back to Missouri.

He had gotten a best-case-scenario diagnosis (abdominal strain) from an area specialist and garnered clearance to continue his throwing program. Wainwright, a self-proclaimed BBQ connoisseur, then topped it all off by enjoying two racks of ribs, specially served to him as he sat at the airport gate.

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Grichuk skips workouts with sore lower back

Outfielder plays it safe, expects to resume Friday

Grichuk skips workouts with sore lower back

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outfielder Randal Grichuk put in a full day at the Cardinals' complex Thursday but did not join his teammates on the field for the scheduled workouts due to lower back soreness.

Grichuk downplayed the issue, saying he anticipates resuming work Friday after undergoing several hours of treatment Thursday.

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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.

Martinez among Cards pitchers to face hitters

Hurlers' bunting contest on tap; Scruggs getting work with outfielders

Martinez among Cards pitchers to face hitters

JUPITER, Fla. -- After having a first wave of pitchers throw live batting practice -- or, as the Cardinals now prefer to call it, pitching practice -- on Wednesday, a different group of 13 pitchers took the mound Thursday to face hitters for the first time this spring.

Included among those 13 were Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal, John Lackey, Jordan Walden, Marco Gonzales, Sam Freeman, Carlos Martinez, Tyler Lyons, Carlos Villanueva, Mitch Harris, Sam Tuivailala, Marcus Hatley and Dean Kiekhefer. The sessions went without a hitch, though Lynn did plunk teammate Stephen Piscotty with one pitch.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards relieved Wainwright's injury not serious

Ace will take it easy while abdomen heals, should make Opening Day

Cards relieved Wainwright's injury not serious

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright's visit to a St. Louis-area specialist Thursday brought some relief to Cardinals camp, as they learned soon after that the staff ace is dealing with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 5.

General manager John Mozeliak called the diagnosis "good news," adding that Wainwright is cleared to continue throwing while he allows the abdominal area to heal. Nevertheless, the Cardinals will have Wainwright "take it slow for about four or five days" with an eye on then having him at full strength in a couple of weeks.

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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.

Gast glad to be feeling back to normal

Cardinals pitcher struggled last season recovering from shoulder surgery

Gast glad to be feeling back to normal

JUPITER, Fla. -- When John Gast had July 2013 surgery to repair a left shoulder tear, he was advised that it would likely be eight to 12 months before he could resume pitching. What he didn't know at the time, however, was that the road to feeling completely right would take much longer.

Gast made his first post-surgery appearance a little more than 10 months after the procedure but never felt entirely back during the 12 Triple-A starts he made thereafter in 2014. His fastball velocity, which once sat around 88-90 mph, hovered near the 84-85 mark. Even retraining his arm to repeat its motion was a struggle.

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Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite set lineup, Cards expect spirited camp

Competition still a factor for position players

Despite set lineup, Cards expect spirited camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Now in his fourth year as Cardinals manager, Mike Matheny has been consistent in his desire to feature an element of competition in each camp. He likes that idea of players being pushed.

It's present in several ways this Spring Training, with the rotation's fifth spot, middle-relief roles and bench spots still unsettled. Yet Wednesday marked the first time in a decade that the Cardinals held their first full-squad workout with a fairly clear idea of the eight position players who, barring injury, will take the field on Opening Day.

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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.