Matheny Promotes Teaching Opportunity
New manager pairs veterans with prospects
JUPITER, FLA.—During his first conversation with pitchers and catchers at spring training, new Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made it clear that the players and staff would be doing more this spring than preparing for 2012.
They would be prepping for the future of the organization.
Matheny, who was hired after longtime manager Tony La Russa retired in October, pledged to encourage more interaction between the organization's rising group of prospects and the established veterans.
"We've got an opportunity to influence this organization for years to come," Matheny said on his first day of official workouts. "If we put some of these kids out there on Field Z, out near Egypt, there's not going to be much of a chance to see how these guys go about things on a daily basis."
To that end, Matheny has altered some of the usual fixtures of spring training, ones that La Russa made standard during the daily workouts. Instead of the major league rotation clumping together for many of its off-mound workouts, Matheny has split the five starters up into groups so they can help guide youngsters. That has meant ace Chris Carpenter has pitched beside teenager Tyrell Jenkins, and Adam Wainwright has been placed beside Shelby Miller.
Matheny said he will continue dispersing veterans among the young players when it comes to hitting groups, too.
The manager lobbied for a player like Jenkins, who has not yet pitched an inning for a full-season squad, to get a non-roster invite to spring training because of the hopes the Cardinals have for the young righty. Matheny also advocated that the young catchers in camp get a chance to catch one of the big league starters.
• Fifth-round pick Sam Gaviglio, a righthander from Oregon State, was a late add to the Cardinals' invitation-only early camp before spring training. Twenty-five players were brought in to get instruction from major league coaches.
• Once considered a top prospect in the system, catcher Bryan Anderson is entering his fourth year on the 40-man roster and yet has just 15 games in the majors. The current coaching staff has a fondness for the lefthanded-hitting catcher, and Matheny said this spring he'll be in a "dogfight" with Tony Cruz and Koyie Hill to be Yadier Molina's backup.