Harris close to Grapefruit League clearance

Cards righty calls procedure 'career-saver' after avoiding Tommy John surgery

Harris close to Grapefruit League clearance

JUPITER, Fla. -- It's been eight months since Navy Lieutenant-turned-Major League pitcher Mitch Harris went on to an operating table, expecting to undergo Tommy John surgery. He awoke to learn that his elbow had been repaired differently, and now Harris realizes how critical that was.

Instead of laboring through the normal year-plus recovery that comes after Tommy John surgery, Harris took the mound Monday morning to throw a session of live batting practice. If he recovers well, Harris will be cleared to pitch in Grapefruit League play this week.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yadi drives in 2, Cecil makes debut in win

Yadi drives in 2, Cecil makes debut in win

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals catchers drove in four runs to help the team to its first Grapefruit League victory, a 7-4 win over the Marlins on Sunday at Roger Dean Stadium.

Yadier Molina, who started as St. Louis' designated hitter, capped a four-run second inning against Marlins lefty Adam Conley with a two-run double, his first hit this spring.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecil changes it up by mixing in changeup

Cecil changes it up by mixing in changeup

JUPITER, Fla. -- Brett Cecil made his Cardinals debut in Sunday's 7-4 victory and showed a willingness to turn back to a pitch that had been buried in his repertoire in recent years.

Since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2013, Cecil has survived largely with a fastball-curveball mix. The changeup, which accounted for nearly a quarter of his pitches as a starter, mostly faded away. Last year, for instance, it represented six percent of the pitches Cecil threw.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Schafer offers flexibility in outfield, on mound

Schafer offers flexibility in outfield, on mound

JUPITER, Fla. -- After playing the outfield in the Cardinals' Grapefruit League opener, Jordan Schafer will plant himself elsewhere on the field Monday as he begins building his case as a two-way player.

Eight years after making his Major League debut in center, Schafer, 30, hopes to extend his career by returning to his roots. He signed a Minor League deal with the Cardinals last fall, shortly after wrapping up his first professional season as a pitcher. The suggestion to return to the mound -- a place Schafer once thrived -- came after a right MCL injury shortened his 2015 season in Minnesota.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Classic-bound Baker shines in spring debut

Classic-bound Baker shines in spring debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- A late addition to big league Spring Training, right-hander Corey Baker is also poised to make an early departure. He's not headed to Minor League camp, however, but rather across the globe to represent Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.

Baker, who grew up in a Jewish home, helped Israel qualify for its first World Baseball Classic appearance in September. He described rejoining the team for next month's international tournament as "a no-brainer," even though it will cost him additional time in front of the big league coaching staff.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Carpenter HRs, shines in new role to open spring

Carpenter HRs, shines in new role to open spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- The ball was flying out of Roger Dean Stadium on Saturday afternoon, and Tyler Moore's drive in the seventh inning ended up being the difference in the Marlins' 8-7 victory over the Cardinals in the Grapefruit League opener.

On the sunny day, five home runs were hit, with Miami collecting three. Matt Carpenter belted a two-run shot, and Harrison Bader delivered a solo shot for the Cardinals. Christian Yelich and Justin Bour each went deep in the third inning off Seung Hwan Oh. Moore's two-out shot in the seventh inning reclaimed the lead for the Marlins.

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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fowler, Carpenter link up quickly in opener

New acquisition scores on first baseman's sacrifice fly, home run

Fowler, Carpenter link up quickly in opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- After watching two key pieces in the Cardinals' new-look lineup thrive in their roles, the club is hopeful that first impressions create a lasting one.

Dexter Fowler didn't put a ball in play in his organizational debut, but as the team's new leadoff hitter, he drew two walks and scored after each in St. Louis' 8-7 loss to Miami. Behind him, Matt Carpenter, who vacated that leadoff spot upon Fowler's arrival, tallied three RBIs from the third spot in the batting order, which is likely where he will settle once the season starts.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cuban outfielder Garcia reports to Cards' camp

Recent signee won't be able to play until he acquires a work visa

Cuban outfielder Garcia reports to Cards' camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after signing a Minor League contract with the Cardinals, Jose Adolis Garcia reported to camp for his first workout on Saturday. It will be a while longer, however, before he's able to showcase his skills in a game setting.

Garcia will not be permitted to participate in Grapefruit League play until after he obtains a work visa. The Cards hope that process is wrapped up by mid-March, though the timeline is uncertain. Regardless, the club does not expect Garcia to make a run at an Opening Day roster spot.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Weaver focused on expanding his repertoire

No. 3 prospect in Cardinals' system has a shot at fifth rotation spot

Weaver focused on expanding his repertoire

JUPITER, Fla. -- Luke Weaver came into camp this spring not only wanting to make a push for the fifth spot in the rotation, but desiring to showcase an expanded arsenal of pitches during the process.

Over 36 1/3 innings as a rookie last season, Weaver relied heavily on a two-pitch mix. His four-seam fastball and changeup, in fact, accounted for 83 percent of the 682 pitches that Weaver threw, according to data compiled by brooksbaseball.net. There were curveballs and cutters occasionally mixed in, but rarely did he turn elsewhere.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals remaining conservative with Wong

Second baseman dealing with right shoulder soreness

Cardinals remaining conservative with Wong

JUPITER, Fla. -- Five months after he took an awkward tumble while playing in an unfamiliar spot, Kolten Wong said he continues to deal with nagging shoulder soreness related to that fall.

Wong has been conservative with his throwing thus far in camp after a January MRI confirmed that there is still inflammation around his right shoulder. Wong traced the discomfort back to September, when he jammed his right shoulder into the Wrigley Field grass after losing his footing. Wong was playing left field that day, a position relatively new to him.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards trust Oh to be ready after WBC '17 run

Matheny on Korean reliever's preparation, attitude: 'This guy is a pro'

Cards trust Oh to be ready after WBC '17 run

JUPITER, Fla. -- Seung Hwan Oh had heard, secondhand, about the run on Cardinals merchandise in his home country of South Korea last season. He had been told stories about folks who had to resort to online shopping to buy Cardinals gear because stores no longer had any in stock.

And then, during an offseason autograph signing in Korea, Oh got a glimpse of that buzz. As he looked out on the line that had formed in front of him, nearly everyone, Oh said, was wearing a Cardinals hat.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cards ink Cuban outfielder to Minors deal

Jose Adolis Garcia was MVP of Cuba's Serie Nacional

Cards ink Cuban outfielder to Minors deal

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals, who hoped to enhance their outfield depth before the start of the season, have found another candidate to compete for a job as one of the team's backup outfielders.

Cuban outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia, the younger brother of Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia, agreed to a Minor League contract with the team on Friday. The deal includes an invite to Major League camp, and it will pay Garcia a $2.5 million bonus, according to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bowman looks to stick as Cards' ground-ball ace

Bowman looks to stick as Cards' ground-ball ace

JUPITER, Fla. -- There was a flashback, Matt Bowman admitted, when he walked into the Cardinals' spring clubhouse for the start of camp. It had been a year since he first entered the same space, uncertain whether he'd find a home with this organization, and, if so, how he would fit.

Bowman, a Rule 5 pick then, comes now with a year of Major League service time and a proven repertoire that the Cardinals believe can help fill the void left by Seth Maness' departure.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gonzales nears end of Tommy John recovery

Gonzales nears end of Tommy John recovery

JUPITER, Fla. -- Marco Gonzales isn't likely to make a Grapefruit League appearance this spring, but the work he's doing behind the scenes has the left-hander on track to potentially wrap up his recovery from Tommy John surgery before the end of May.

Gonzales is a little more than 10 months removed from having his elbow operated on, and he returned to the mound for the first time post-surgery last week. He could have been a little further along in that rehab work if not for timing. Gonzales paused his rehab work early last fall so he could build in a break that would allow him to pitch all the way through the 2017 season.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cardinals bond over aliens, pirate treasure

Team shakes up the norm with escape room field trip

Cardinals bond over aliens, pirate treasure

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals took their workouts off campus on Thursday for a team-building exercise that featured, among other things, alien abductions and pirates' treasure.

It was an unexpected field trip for players, who split up into two groups and took turns boarding a bus to depart for a destination unknown. When they disembarked, players found themselves thrust into an escape room challenge. The goal: Work with your teammates to solve puzzles and escape a themed room within 60 minutes.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Fred Zinkie

Tale of the fantasy tape: Cardinals vs. Cubs

Which National League Central rival has superior fantasy assets?

Tale of the fantasy tape: Cardinals vs. Cubs

Though the Cardinals seized the National League Central crown every year from 2013-15, the Cubs have since gained the advantage -- defeating St. Louis in the '15 NL Division Series before winning both the division and the World Series last season.

Before these teams write the next chapter in their storied rivalry, we can get a head start on assessing them by comparing the fantasy value of their key players for the upcoming campaign.

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Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Breaking down the Cards' Top 30 Prospects

Despite loss of Reyes for season, St. Louis' system still strong

Breaking down the Cards' Top 30 Prospects

It's never a good thing to lose your No. 1 prospect. There's no way to sugarcoat that. When he's the top pitching prospect in baseball at the time, it makes it sting even more.

Losing Alex Reyes -- who not only is the top prospect in the system, but was also going to be counted on to make a major contribution in St. Louis this season -- is not something that can be overcome with the flip of a switch.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Cardinals have pieces, precedent to handle injury

Wacha and Co. should pick up slack for Reyes; club won it all in 2011 after Waino went down

Cardinals have pieces, precedent to handle injury

JUPITER, Fla. -- Gray skies hung over Cardinals camp Wednesday morning, arguably a week late. Alex Reyes' Tommy John surgery unfortunately falls right in line with the sour spring setbacks that this organization endured with Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia in recent years, though the Cards know they are hardly outliers in this area.

"A lot has been made of the unfortunate timing of these, but all organizations go through this," general manager John Mozeliak said. "You adapt and find ways to be successful, or you could have the pity party and just kind of roll everything up and play for next year. That's not our strategy."

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Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Siegrist throws 25 pitches in first 'pen session

Siegrist throws 25 pitches in first 'pen session

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals reliever Kevin Siegrist threw his first bullpen session of Spring Training on Wednesday. He had delayed the start of his Spring Training throwing program after feeling some left shoulder soreness last week.

But Siegrist was happy to report that everything seemed to go well, and he will wait and see how the shoulder feels Thursday.

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

Ozzie aims to help bolster Cardinals' defense

Hall of Fame shortstop working on mental approach in spring camp

Ozzie aims to help bolster Cardinals' defense

JUPITER, Fla. -- On the heels of a season dotted with fundamental lapses, the Cardinals prioritized defensive work this spring and they summoned the most distinguished defensive player in franchise history to assist with that instruction.

Hall of Fame shortstop and 13-time Gold Glove Award winner Ozzie Smith arrived at the team's Spring Training complex on Tuesday for a weeklong stay in which he intends to be more than a quiet bystander. His hope is to help the Cardinals recalibrate defensively following a season that he described as "uncharacteristic of the organization."

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

C. Carpenter will be guest instructor at camp

C. Carpenter will be guest instructor at camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- Ozzie Smith's arrival in camp on Tuesday marked the start of what will be a steady stream of former Cardinals coming to serve as guest instructors.

Chris Carpenter, who pitched for the Cardinals from 2004-12, is a new addition to a list of instructors that will also include Jim Edmonds, Bob Gibson and Lou Brock. Edmonds is expected in Florida within the next few days. Gibson is scheduled to arrive in early March. Carpenter will visit toward the end of camp.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Matheny 'nowhere near' naming OD starter

Wainwright, Martinez likely candidates to take hill for April 2 opener

Matheny 'nowhere near' naming OD starter

JUPITER, Fla. -- Those wondering who will take the mound in the Cardinals' season opener will have to sit tight a while longer before receiving an answer.

Manager Mike Matheny said that he is "nowhere near making that statement or that decision" when asked about potential candidates on Monday. The Cardinals begin their season with an April 2 home game against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Facility upgrades exciting Cards prez Dewitt

Facility upgrades exciting Cards prez Dewitt

JUPITER, Fla. -- Putting a twist on the focus of Presidents Day, cardinals.com caught up with team president Bill DeWitt III and offered him the opportunity to address the fan base on a variety of topics. He chose to talk about three areas in particular:

On Busch Stadium: "As usual, fans arriving on Opening Day in 2017 will notice many subtle and a couple big changes in the stadium, as we like to constantly keep the place state-of-the-art and responsive to evolving fan expectations. We are converting the party rooms on the 300 level into the Perficient Red Jacket Club, which is an all-inclusive area that pays tribute to Cardinals Hall of Famers who wear the red jackets at official functions."

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ankiel admits to drinking before game to cope with 'yips'

Ankiel admits to drinking before game to cope with 'yips'

Longtime St. Louis Cardinals pitcher/outfielder Rick Ankiel admitted Monday in an interview plugging his new book that he drank vodka before the 2001 season opener to calm his nerves following his postseason meltdown in 2000.

Ankiel infamously threw five wild pitches in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Braves, and he followed that up with throwing five balls to the backstop in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against the Mets. He also threw two wild pitches in relief in Game 5 of the NLCS.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fowler reaffirms comments regarding travel ban

New Cardinals center fielder's wife was born in Iran

Fowler reaffirms comments regarding travel ban

JUPITER, Fla. -- Dexter Fowler said on Monday that he stands by the statement he made to ESPN.com two days ago in which he discussed the effect on his family of President Donald Trump's executive order limiting travel to and from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Fowler's wife, Darya, was born in Iran, one of seven countries named in the executive order before it was blocked by the United States 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Fowler told ESPN.com that such restrictions could preclude his family from traveling to visit relatives in Iran and that it has delayed his sister-in-law's return from a business trip to Qatar.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Peralta not resting on his laurels

Recovered from thumb injury, third baseman back in groove

Peralta not resting on his laurels

JUPITER, Fla. -- With big league service that stretches back to 2003, Jhonny Peralta has lived the cycles of baseball seasons longer than anyone else in the St. Louis clubhouse. And yet, so much about the year ahead for him is cloaked in unfamiliarity.

Peralta has no guarantee of a starting job. He's no longer viewed as the solution at shortstop. There are questions about whether his offensive decline in 2016 had at least something to do with expected age regression. And there's the nearing uncertainty about his baseball future.

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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.