Gonzales makes first pitch for big league job

Righty competing with Martinez, Garcia for fifth rotation spot

Gonzales makes first pitch for big league job

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals are opening Grapefruit League play by featuring three starting pitchers likely vying for one rotation spot. Following Carlos Martinez and preceding Jaime Garcia, Marco Gonzales made his first pitch on Friday as he seeks to find a way onto the Major League roster.

Gonzales' fate may well be determined by factors he can't control. Unless he unravels over the next month, Martinez will retain the inside track on the rotation job. Gonzales' pursuit of a bullpen job could be impeded by the performance of the other lefty relievers in camp.

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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.

Pham ends spring drought with 4-hit game

After nine seasons in Minors, Pham has chance to break camp with Cards

JUPITER, Fla. -- It took nine seasons of toiling in the Minors and dealing with various injuries before Tommy Pham finally cracked a Major League roster. That occurred last September.

And yet, it took even longer for Pham to record his first Spring Training hit.

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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.

Pham, Stanley cue 4-run sixth to lift Cards over Astros

Gonzales tosses two solid innings in spring debut

Pham, Stanley cue 4-run sixth to lift Cards over Astros

JUPITER, Fla. -- A four-run sixth keyed by Tommy Pham and Cody Stanley lifted the Cardinals to a 5-2 win over the Astros at Roger Dean Stadium on Friday.

All of the Cardinals' sixth-inning runs were scored off Houston righty Alex White, who retired just one of seven batters he faced. Pham, who finished with a four-hit game, drove home one with a single. Stanley followed with a two-run double, after which an RBI single by Greg Garcia pushed the Cardinals' lead to five.

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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 progressing, eager to see potential of healthy wrist

Center fielder not yet ready for game action, eyeing Opening Night

Jay progressing, eager to see potential of healthy wrist

JUPITER, Fla. -- Two days into their Grapefruit League season, the Cardinals have gotten at least a limited-game look at all of their projected starting position players -- with the exception of one.

Center fielder Jon Jay remains out of that mix as he continues to build up his left wrist strength following an offseason procedure. Jay hasn't been slowed by any additional issues with the wrist, but he was delayed in his spring program after getting a late start on his offensive work.

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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.

McGee visits spring camp as guest instructor

Cards Hall of Fame member has worked with base runners, outfielders in past

McGee visits spring camp as guest instructor

JUPITER, Fla. -- Willie McGee dressed in uniform for workouts on Friday, hoping to go to work inconspicuously as a Spring Training guest instructor. The Cardinals had other plans.

"Like I told the guys this morning, too bad, because we're going to make a big deal of him," manager Mike Matheny said. "When you go about drawing up how to be a pro, McGee is a really good one to model yourself after."

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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.

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.

Martinez's work starting to pay dividends

Holliday, Wainwright, others announce return of Homers For Health

Martinez's work starting to pay dividends

JUPITER, Fla. -- Joking the day before that he would treat the game like a World Series one, Carlos Martinez took the mound on Thursday clearly pitching with purpose. Facing a Marlins lineup representative of the one they'll use on Opening Day, Martinez retired all six batters he faced, including three on strikeouts, and threw 22 of his 29 pitches for strikes in an eventual 4-1 St. Louis win.

"I saw a guy who looks like he's trying to win a job," manager Mike Matheny said of the pitcher considered the favorite to break camp as the team's fifth starter. "That was pretty good."

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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 dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

Martinez dominates in bid to earn fifth spot

JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Martinez was dominant in two perfect innings, and Matt Adams delivered a two-run single in the first that spurred the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday at Roger Dean Stadium.

The significant news for Miami was that Giancarlo Stanton played four innings in right field, and in two at-bats, he lifted a pair of fly-ball outs. It was the two-time All-Star's first game action since he was struck in the face by a pitch at Milwaukee on Sept. 11.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Heyward debuts in Cardinals red with first-pitch single

Right fielder excited to be one piece in a potentially potent lineup

Heyward debuts in Cardinals red with first-pitch single

JUPITER, Fla. -- Though he still sits one month away from the introduction he's most anticipating, Jason Heyward made his debut in Cardinals red on Thursday while making his first start in right field for the team that acquired him in November.

Heyward wasted no time endearing himself to the red-clad fans at Roger Dean Stadium, either, as he singled on the first pitch he saw from Marlins starter Dan Haren. His single was the first of three consecutive hits that produced a pair of first-inning runs for the Cardinals.

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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 still hoping legend Schoendienst makes it to camp

Arrival would mark icon's 70th consecutive Spring Training in uniform

Cards still hoping legend Schoendienst makes it to camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Ozzie Smith recently made a one-week appearance to assist with infield instruction, and the Cardinals expect a handful of their other former stars to stop by camp to assist later this month. They hope Hall of Fame manager Red Schoendienst is among them.

Schoendienst -- or simply Red, as he's known around here -- intended to be present for the Cardinals' first spring workout, as he has been for decades. But a medical issue delayed his trip and a cold, manager Mike Matheny said, continues to keep him cooped up in St. Louis.

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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.

Cardinals not rushed by pitch clock

Cardinals not rushed by pitch clock

JUPITER, Fla. -- Having retreated to the clubhouse shortly after throwing a scoreless inning in relief on Thursday, Matt Belisle emerged from around the corner with a puzzled look on his face.

"Was there a pitch clock out there today?" he asked, looking in teammate Carlos Villanueva's direction. Villanueva hesitated with his answer, before someone else chimed in with confirmation.

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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.

Continue Reading on Cut4

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.