JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The eight players vying for the five spots in the St. Louis Cardinals' starting rotation haven't seen all that many spring trainings.
The inexperience occurred to manager Mike Matheny on Wednesday, reporting day for Cardinals pitchers and catchers.
"We put guys in groups today and it's amazing," said Matheny, who begins his third year as manager. "Some of the guys we have as leaders of the group don't have a whole lot of experience ...Typically when we start putting those groups together you have guys with six, seven, eight years of service that are out trying to lead a group, but we've got some younger players and I know they'll be ready for it."
At 32, Adam Wainwright is the lone starter older than 27 for the Cardinals, who aim to return to the World Series for the third time in four years. After posting a 19-9 record with a 2.94 ERA and finishing second in the Cy Young voting in 2013, Wainwright is the only starter to know his slot in the rotation — the top.
Like nearly all of the Cardinals' pitchers, Wainwright arrived in Jupiter several days ago. He threw off the mound Tuesday. On Wednesday, he pulled into the parking lot with fellow starter Shelby Miller in the passenger seat. Not scheduled to throw, Wainwright popped out of the pickup truck wearing golf attire, walked over to back field where several dozen players were loosening up and announced he was officially reporting to camp. He then wrapped his arms around Matheny.
"He's a hugger," Matheny said with a laugh.
Wainwright and Miller then jumped back in the truck and left the parking lot.
"I kind of thought they would take a complete day off, which typically guys do the day before you get going — to just shut it down completely," Matheny said. "There's nothing wrong with spending a little time with family or getting a couple swings in on your golf game."