Cards get a day off before Friday's spring opener

Cards get a day off before Friday's spring opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' spring schedule shows two days off -- one next Tuesday and another two weeks later on March 18. Manager Mike Matheny has decided to insert another.

Matheny is keeping the lights off at the Cardinals' complex on Thursday, rewarding players for their efforts in workouts by telling them to stay away for the day. When the work resumes on Friday, the Cardinals will be playing their first Grapefruit League game of the season.

"We had some things we needed to accomplish. We accomplished them," said Matheny, whose club had one of the earliest report dates of any. "Now we're excited to give them a day. I wasn't 100 percent certain. It depended on if we got the work done and still is. If today turns into a zoo, I'm not ruling out that tomorrow is a day we come in and try it again."

Wednesday's workouts went seamlessly enough to not prompt Matheny to change his mind.

"We have had guys going for a good while," Matheny said. "Just like I told you early on, we have a plan for every day, things that we want to do, but we adjust according to what we see. We could see that the guys were working real hard and that this would be a good time to take a quick break."

Matheny said that the only players who may stop by the complex on Thursday are those who require treatment from the training staff.

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.