WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. (KMOV.com) -- Trevor Rosenthal has a 1,000 watt smile that spreads across his face with ease. If there were ever an occasion that warranted the electric display of his pearly whites, it would have been his most recent meeting with Mike Matheny, one in which he was told he was finally getting his shot at a dream he’s had for several seasons.
He will start a game for the Cardinals.
Instead of a bright grin, Matheny said, “he deadpanned it.”
“He’s done a nice job being very consistent this spring in the things he’s saying and the way he’s going about his work. He just looks like a guy who knows what he wants to do this year. He’s staying very focused with it,” the manager said.
Rosenthal has embraced the increased workload, building his pitching arsenal and demonstrating command of four pitches. Despite his reserved demeanor with Matheny, the All-Star closer is ready for the start, his first since 2012 at Triple-A.
“I don’t think it’ll be too much different. I think it will be fun to know I’ll have an opportunity to be out there longer and have a longer opportunity to work on some stuff,” he said.
In addition to his elite fastball, he’s been able to cultivate a reliable change up and has shown trust in his breaking ball. This year he’s added a tight slider.
“He’s a guy that seems to be able to pick up pitches pretty easy. A lot of that has to do with having exceptional arm speed,” Matheny said. “Catchers are going to need more fingers if he adds any more pitches. … That’s a full repertoire and you don’t normally see a closer with that many [pitches].”
While his appearance Friday was shortened to just one inning, he’ll get an extended appearance Monday. Rosenthal will fill in for Carlos Martinez (who will join the Dominican national team this weekend for the World Baseball Classic) and start the game in Fort Myers against the Twins. He’ll likely have a cap of 50 pitches, standard for a starter at this point in spring.
“I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to getting out there and stretching out for a few innings,” he said.
Carpenter, Weaver still out with back issues
Matt Carpenter, scratched from the lineup Thursday with back spasms, remains sidelined. The team is exercising patience in his recovery, but his original plan to remain in Fort Myers Monday to join Team USA for the WBC is now up in the air.
“I think everything is in conversation at this point. We’re just trying to get him right and feeling out what he’s going to need. We’ll follow his lead on it,” Matheny said. “We’re still cutting him back on the work. It’s still tight and we’ll just kind of wait and see today.”
Luke Weaver is dealing with a similar issue, but has not yet been placed on a medical plan for return. The biggest asset the Cardinals have at this point is time. With more than 25 days of camp remaining, Weaver has plenty of cushion to simply take it easy.
“What I told the staff this morning was, ‘What’s the hurry? He’s got time,’” Matheny said. “He’ll be built up as soon as we need him to be built up, but let’s make sure we’re very careful.