JUPITER, Fla. -- Of all that Tyrell Jenkins was able to soak in on Sunday, it was one word out of veteran Chris Carpenter's mouth that defined his first day in Major League camp: Buddy.
A gesture that Carpenter may or may not have made deliberately captured Jenkins' attention. It was, at least in Jenkins' eyes, validation that he could fit in.
At 19 years old, Jenkins is the youngest player participating in the Cardinals' Major League Spring Training camp. It was no accident then that when manager Mike Matheny separated the pitchers into groups of three or four that Jenkins landed in a quartet with Carpenter, who was drafted before Jenkins' first birthday.
This idea of pairing the most experienced with the youngsters was proposed by Matheny and immediately embraced by the veterans.
"Not every organization has guys that want to buy into that," Matheny said. "I think they see the bigger picture that we have the opportunity to influence this organization for years to come. And if we put some of these kids out there on Field Z near Egypt, there's not going to be much of a chance to see how these guys go about things on a daily basis."
Joining Jenkins and Carpenter in the first group to throw on Sunday was 24-year-old Lance Lynn and 23-year-old Joe Kelly. Top prospect Shelby Miller was put in a group with Adam Wainwright, while John Gast and Brandon Dickson were among those to throw alongside Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia.
"I asked [Carpenter] five to 10 questions already today, just small things," Jenkins said. "It's really good to have someone like that who you can look up to and ask questions to. Hopefully I can soak up a lot, and maybe someday I will be able to pass some of it down to someone younger than me."