Cardinals' Tyrell Jenkins Gets A Taste Of The Future
ST. LOUIS—During the Winter Meetings in Dallas, new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny sat with farm director John Vuch and mapped out the number and names of the non-roster invitees they wanted to bring to major league spring training.
Some would have a chance to win a job. Others would get an opportunity to leave an impression. A few were just getting an invite to their future.
"Some of the guys we talked about we thought it would be helpful to them just being around the major league experience," Vuch said. "Seeing how (Chris) Carpenter and (Adam) Wainwright get ready and getting some young players around them can really give that big league understanding."
A chief example is Tyrell Jenkins.
Still just 19, the righthander doesn't have an inning above Rookie ball, and yet he'll be one of 19 spring invites. Jenkins, a three-sport star and 2010 draft pick, was identified by Matheny as a young player he'd like to spend some time with, talking about what it means to be in the majors and to stress what it takes for him to come to spring training with a true shot at the majors.
Shelby Miller, the team's top prospect, is also among the invites, making his third consecutive appearance at major league spring training. Joining him on the pitching prospect side will be reliever Jordan Swagerty, righthander Joe Kelly and lefthander John Gast.
First-round pick Kolten Wong will be rewarded for his strong half-season with an invitation. First baseman Matt Adams and shortstop Ryan Jackson, who performed well in Double-A last year, will use major league camp to assert their holds on starting jobs with Triple-A Memphis.
"We did want to reward some of the players in this way," Vuch said. "Swagerty is a guy who is interesting to a lot of people. You're dealing with a finite number of spots and you don't want to take away from the major league team's preparation."
n With major league pitching coach Dave Duncan taking a leave of absence after 16 years in the position, the Cardinals moved quickly to promote from within. Derek Lilliquist, long a minor league pitching coach and rehab coordinator, will take over as pitching coach in the majors, and Dyar Miller will return to the majors as the bullpen coach.
n Matt Carpenter, a lefthanded-hitting third baseman, has made learning other positions a priority this offseason so that he can show the versatility necessary this spring to vie for a bench position.