JUPITER, Fl. (KMOV.com) -- It will likely be a week before Matt Carpenter returns to games, as the new Cardinal first baseman is still working back from back tightness.
He took swings off a tee Monday but Mike Matheny said Tuesday the medical plan is still focused on a cautious road back.
Given the oblique injury that carved a massive hole in his 2016 season, one that derailed a career-best, All-Star first half, the Cardinals aren’t eager to risk a recurrence, which rushing could do.
“We had the team doctors in yesterday and they were talking about how it was good that he caught it. Some of the signs showed, like Matt said, that it was a precursor to an oblique injury. It was good that he backed off when he did or there’s a chance that it might have gotten real bad,” Matheny said.
Trevor Rosenthal received good news from his MRI this week. The closer was tapped to start Monday in Fort Myers, but lat tightness set him back. Imaging of his back showed no significant damage and he will throw a bullpen Thursday. He expects to be in a game by the end of the weekend.
Team Israel became the first to (likely) advance in the World Baseball Classic after wins against South Korea and Chinese Taipei. Cardinals prospect Corey Baker made the start against Chinese Taipei, throwing 4.2 scoreless innings. With Israel now 2-0 in pool play, they are almost certain to advance. Seung Hwan Oh could be back in Cardinal camp soon, however, as South Korea was upset by the Netherlands and fell to 0-2.
Minor league pitchers Junior Fernandez and Jake Woodford were the first youngsters to exit major league camp, as both were reassigned to minor league spring training Tuesday. The pair of prospects, both of whom feature high velocity arms, appeared for a combined four innings. Woodford allowed four hits and walked one and Fernandez walked two but did not allow a hit.
One of golf's biggest names was on the Jupiter grounds Thursday. Rickie Fowler, fresh of a win at the nearby Honda Classic stopped by to hang out at Cardinals camp. Fowler, decked out in a St. Louis hat and pullover jacket, mixed in with the players as they did their on-field work and even took a chance to throw off the bullpen mound to prospect Patrick Wisdom.
"I played baseball as a kid growing up, and I definitely respect the sport and respect the guys who are the best at what they do," said Fowler, who is currently ranked seventh in the world. "It's fun to be able to come hang and get away from the course. You need to have a little bit of a life outside of just golf."