New-look Cards have NL's best spring record

New-look Cards have NL's best spring record

VIERA, Fla. -- New manager. No Albert Pujols. No matter.

At 16-8, the Cardinals -- the first team in Major League history to win the World Series and return the next season without its manager and leading homer hitter -- have the best record in the National League this spring.

How significant is that?

"Spring Training or regular season, you'll take winning over losing every time, no matter where you're doing it," rookie manager Mike Matheny said on Saturday. "I think [winning] can become a habit.

"We're competing. In game situations, you need to execute. And our guys are executing on a pretty consistent basis. My goal is to get the guys ready. And I think most of the guys are ready. We've got quite a few guys who are pretty ready.

"You have to work without overworking. It's hard to prepare for that long season ahead. You've just got to get out there and get the work done. And we've got the work done."