While most players enjoyed a day away from the Cardinals' spring complex on Wednesday, a pair of young pitchers who did report to throw off the mound ended up with the added perk of getting to pitch to their manager.
With players having earned an off-day on Wednesday by completing a "27 outs" exercise to end workouts the day before, the Cardinals' spring complex was low on activity the day before the team opens Grapefruit League play.
After nearly two weeks of fielding fundamentals, bullpen sessions and batting practice, the Cardinals will move on to the next phase of Spring Training with the start of their Grapefruit League season on Thursday. Here are seven questions (in no particular order) that the Cardinals will look to answer over their upcoming 28-game Grapefruit League slate:
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny outlined his pitching alignment for the first three games of the Grapefruit League season and said he was giving his club a well-deserved day off on Wednesday. Their Grapefruit League schedule begins on Thursday against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.
The Cardinals have shown no indication that they plan to change Matt Carpenter's placement in their lineup. However, if Carpenter accomplishes what he has set as a season goal, he'll take a different look back into the familiar spot atop the batting order.
Single-game tickets for the Cardinals' 81 regular-season home games will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CT, the organization announced on Monday. Fans intending to purchase tickets to at least three home games can enjoy early access to tickets, beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.
Though still limited in running and agility work, Adam Wainwright received the go-ahead from the training staff and returned to the mound on Monday to throw his first bullpen session in 10 days. Wainwright threw 41 pitches in the session, describing it afterward as "exactly what I wanted it to be."
Though Jon Jay has been participating in the position players' on-field workout rotations since full-squad workouts began, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny acknowledged on Sunday that Jay likely won't be ready to start the team's Grapefruit League opener on Thursday.
With an eye on being cleared to return to the field on Monday, Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk increased his work in the batting cages on Sunday and reported improvement with his lower back afterward.
When rain forced the Cardinals indoors for workouts Friday, manager Mike Matheny decided to use part of the time for discussion groups among the players and coaches. Pitchers and hitters were divided into groups to discuss various situations that might happen in games.
Using all the rooms, nooks and crannies that their spring complex had to offer, the Cardinals were able to salvage a day of work on Friday despite the persistent rain that left the fields too soggy for much outdoor activity.
Adam Wainwright returned to Cardinals camp on Friday, one day after a St. Louis-area specialist diagnosed him with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from continuing through a spring throwing program.
When John Gast had July 2013 surgery to repair a left shoulder tear, he was advised that it would likely be eight to 12 months before he could resume pitching. What he didn't know at the time, however, was that the road to feeling completely right would take much longer.
After having a first wave of pitchers throw live batting practice -- or, as the Cardinals now prefer to call it, pitching practice -- on Wednesday, a different group of 13 pitchers took the mound Thursday to face hitters for the first time this spring.
Adam Wainwright's visit to a St. Louis-area specialist Thursday brought some relief to Cardinals camp, as they learned soon after that the staff ace is dealing with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 5.
Wednesday marked the first time in a decade that the Cardinals held their first full-squad workout with a fairly clear idea of the eight position players who, barring injury, will take the field on Opening Day. Nevertheless, the Cardinals are still pushing the competition card.
It is customary before the first full-squad workout each spring for the Cardinals' manager to gather players and staff into the clubhouse and officially open spring with a message that sets the tone for the season ahead. This year, however, the meeting was also tinged with reflection.
At the first full-squad workout of 2015 the Cardinals had 13 pitchers throw batting practice for the first time in camp. Position players rotated through so that each had an opportunity to track live pitches.
Following a year that he describes as "the most frustrating thing I've ever gone through," Kevin Siegrist found himself a bit too amped up as he stepped onto the mound Wednesday to face hitters for the first time this spring. Consider it a welcomed byproduct of feeling right again.