Day 3: ‘Bird Seed

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The absence of Chris Carpenter leaves the Cardinals without an ace-type pitcher. Apparently, it also eliminated the ‘bad cop’ from the clubhouse. Both manager Mike Matheny and starter Adam Wainwright joked on Tuesday about the possibility of appointing a new bad cop. Only problem is, the candidate pool appears to be lacking.

“I think I would be a horrible bad cop,” said Wainwright, who then tried to convince Jake Westbrook to take on the roll. The fit there wasn’t right either. “We both decided that he would be a horrible bad cop,” Wainwright added.

Matheny concurred: “I don’t think that is going to work. I’m thinking [hitting coach John] Mabry? I don’t know.”

In all seriousness, the Cardinals don’t intend for their clubhouse to collapse because of leadership problems. That leadership, though, might just take on a different form with Carpenter out of the equation. That’s not necessarily bad. It’s just a shift.

“I think we’re going to do policing in a different kind of way,” Wainwright said. “Carp was great about policing. He was forceful when he needed to be, and he was forceful by example in other ways. I think we’ll do a lot by example, and I think we’ll do a lot by watching guys. If somebody steps out of line, we’ll jump in. But this clubhouse should largely police itself. The veteran guys on the team are here if we need to be in that matter. But hopefully guys will follow our lead.”

Added Matheny: “Leadership has a lot of different forms. There are some things that Carp was not afraid to stand up to say that we’ve got to get from other guys in that clubhouse. I can stand up here and talk until I’m purple and eventually I’m going to sound like a drum. They need to say it themselves. You certainly have to have some guys in that clubhouse that are no afraid to speak up.”

Spring Training is often a time when leaders rise up, and the Cardinals will certainly be looking for new ones to emerge with the loss of Carpenter and the departures of Kyle Lohse, Lance Berkman and Skip Schumaker.

Other news, notes and observations from the day:

  • Wednesday’s schedule mirrored the Cardinals’ plan from Tuesday, only the throwers and non-throwers flip-flopped in their activities. Taking the mound for bullpen sessions on Wednesday were: Wainwright, Joe Kelly, Jorge Rondon, Lance Lynn, Eduardo Sanchez, Keith Butler, Jake Westbrook, Victor Marte, John Gast, Edward Mujica, Fernando Salas, Barret Browning, and Maikel Cleto.
  • The pitchers who did not throw participated in bunting work and fielding drills. General conditioning drills were done by all.
  • Additional position players have trickled into town. Pete Kozma and Adron Chambers participated in workouts today. Carlos Beltran and Kolten Wong both stopped by later in the day to check in.
  • Matt Carpenter continues his work at second base and, as you can read in this story, is looking to Robinson Cano and Brandon Phillips for some help.
  • Though the Cardinals aren’t handing out specific jobs just yet, Tony Cruz is in position to be the team’s backup catcher. Semantics aside, there really isn’t a competition going on for the spot. J.R. Towles and Rob Johnson will likely team up to catch in Triple-A.
  • Sam Freeman arrived in camp throwing a knuckle-curve. You can read more about it in today’s notebook on cardinals.com – that story highlights the interesting way that Freeman went about learning how to get comfortable with the grip of a new pitch.
  • Former Cardinals beat writer for MLB.com Matthew Leach looked at the Kyle Lohse situation in his column today. He proposed two teams who could be the right fit for the out-of-work starter. You can read Leach’s story here.
  • Red Schoendienst has been observing workouts from his typical perch — a golf cart — this week. This is Spring Training No. 68 for Schoendienst, who recently turned 90 years old. That deserves a tip of the cap. Two, actually.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

2 Comments

I will never understand ,why no real effort , was made to keep Lance Berkman as a leader and bench player on this team. He and Carp were respected and now we are looking more and more like—let’s see what the farm kids can do.

I still would like to see Kyle Lohse return Every time we needed a win in 2012 we gave him the ball. Sign him!

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