Chris Carpenter’s neck, Tyler Greene’s potential and other ST notes

Chris Carpenter has a bulging disk in his neck, and the Cardinals are calling it a big relief as of this morning. The fear was that it was more of a nerve condition, as Carpenter originally experienced pain in his left and right shoulders. Carp says he had “waves of stuff going down into his arms.” Now taking anti-inflammatories and injections, the Cards feel that Carp is still going to be a go for the start of the season. Hopefully this is a blessing in disguise that will allow Carpenter to make fewer pitches at the start of the season but be there for a playoff push.

Carlos Beltran is still not playing due to discomfort in his right shoulder. Beltran has tried to put ease into the Cardinals front office and fan base by saying this is something he typically deals with every year during ST. If Beltran is not playing by the middle of this week, the Cardinals are planning to run more test.

Mike Matheny is doing exactly would he should be doing at this point in ST, and that’s playing as many of the kids in the minors as possible. I don’t get too worked up about ST, but there are quite a few things worth noting. Adam Wainwright pitched well in his first game back from TJS Friday, throwing 30 pitches in 2 innings, striking out 2 and walking one. His fastball ranged from 91-93 MPH in the first inning, and dipped to 89-91 in the second.

Matt Adams is getting regular playing time even though he is almost certain to head to AAA Memphis. Adams hit a grand slam earlier in the week, added a three run triple and leads the team with 7 RBI’s. The obvious weakness in Adams game is his low walk rate in the minors up to this point, but it didn’t keep him from winning the Texas League MVP in 2011. If Adams puts up the same numbers in AAA this year, look for him to take over at 1B in 2013 for the Cards.

With not a lot of spots on the 25 man roster up for grabs, the two to keep an eye on are the 5th OF’er and the starting second baseman. Matheny and the Cardinals appear to be ready to give Tyler Greene every opportunity to win the job at 2B, with Daniel Descalso next in line if Greene fails. Here’s a good article on what Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated thinks of Greene:

Next breakout player from ’05 draft will be . . .

Keep an eye on Cardinals second baseman Tyler Greene, who at age 28 finally may become another breakout player from the 2005 Draft, the greatest draft ever (Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Cameron Maybin, Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, etc.). Greene has played 616 minor league games and never hit much in sporadic play in the majors (.218 in 150 games). But he’s a terrific athlete with impressive tools — plus power, speed and throwing arm — who Cardinals sources say looks like a different player this spring. For one, having moved from shortstop, he has a chance to lock down the second base job. He is the preferred candidate in competition with Skip Schumaker and Daniel Descalso.

“The other day he turned a double play I guarantee only about five other guys in the game could turn,” GM John Mozeliak said. “He did it because of arm strength.”

Said one Cardinal, “He has so much ability it’s scary. He has the potential to hit 20 homers and steal 40 bases. You put that at second base? Wow.”

Moreover, Cardinals sources say Greene is more relaxed under manager Mike Matheny than he was under Tony LaRussa. Said another team source, “If he missed a groundball, right away he would look around and think what Tony was thinking about him. You can see he’s a lot more comfortable this spring.”

Questions remain about Greene. He strikes out too much and needs to show more consistency. But he has posted an .851 OPS across four seasons in Triple A. With nothing left to prove there and no minor league options left, he finally may be ready for the next level.

-Tom Verducci

I guess we will finally get to see if Greene really was hurt by the presence of Tony LaRussa or not. If Greene can put it all together, the Cardinals will have one of the deepest lineups in all of baseball.

With Allen Craig likely to start the season on the DL, the Cardinals Rule V draft pick, Erik Komatsu might just make the team. So far he has impressed in ST, and the incredibly low sample size of 12 AB’s isn’t something you want to make too much of. In those 12 AB’s however, Komatsu has 4 hits including a double and a triple with a stolen base. If it plays out the way the Cardinals want, Komatsu will make the team out of ST, and then a trade will be made with the Nationals to secure his rights and he will get regular playing time in AAA. So far, Komatsu hasn’t played above AA.

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