JUPITER, Fla. • Cardinals manager Mike Matheny hopes his out-patient surgery in St. Louis on Monday morning will alleviate the pain in his back and legs and allow him to return for Thursday's game without any limitations.
"Yes, yes I am," Matheny said. "I hope it cooperates."
Matheny will return to St. Louis tonight, as reported in this morning's paper, and he will have surgery to remove the fragment from a ruptured disc that is pressing against his nerve. He said he has not been given any indication on the percentages of success for the surgery, but knows that removing the fragment should alleviate the numbness in his leg and pain. There are "more dramatic" surgeries, he said, if this one does not free him.
He said when he returns to Florida, as soon as Wednesday night, he does not expect to have to change his routine at the ballpark.
He did not expect to miss any more games, even on the road.
"I don't have to hit, or throw, or catch," Matheny said. "I'm OK when I just standing over there (in the dugout)."
Also this morning:
-- Matt Holliday lost as much as seven pounds while fighting a fever and a virus the past couple days. The left fielder is back with the team today, working out, and if he's able to return to full strength in the coming days could be in the lineup Tuesday at Orlando.
-- David Freese is scheduled to return to third base Monday against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla. Freese has not played the field since tumbling over a railing and landing on his tailbone in an attempt to catch a fly ball.
-- The day after Wednesday's off day is the game identified as "when we really kick it into gear," Matheny said. That means more innings for the starters and more attention given the players truly battling for an opening day roster spot.
-- Attendance is down around spring training, most likely because of the early start and perhaps the cold temps. Matheny said he's noticed increasing attendance but was struck by the feel at some games. "The atmosphere was very subdued," he said about certain games. "Maybe people are relaxing. That's not a bad thing."
-- The manager did scan the brawl between Canada's national team and Team Mexico on Saturday night to see if his pitcher, reliever Fernando Salas, was involved in the brouhaha. He was not.
"I made sure he wasn't hurt or hurting," Matheny said. "He did the right thing -- just grabbing guys."
-- The Cardinals hope today Team Puerto Rico does not use Yadier Molina at catcher for a third game in row.
Rosenthal set to make first 'relief' appearance
Less than a week after being told about his move out of the starter competition and into a potential lock-down, late-inning role in the bullpen, Trevor Rosenthal is scheduled to make his first official appearance as a reliever today.
Rosenthal will back starter Jaime Garcia in his third outing of spring.
Garcia, who is on turn right now to start the Cardinals' home opener at Busch Stadium (there is some wiggle room for the club to adjust), will be aiming for at least 55 pitches and could shoot past 60 depending on the situation.
Rosenthal entered spring training in the three-way race for the No. 5 spot in the rotation. A standout as a reliever late last season, Rosenthal will now serve as an alternative option for the Cardinals in the 7-8-9 scenario should one of the Edward Mujica-Mitchell Boggs-Jason Motte be unavailable that day or needed in another inning. At the time of Rosenthal's switch to the bullpen this spring, general manager John Mozeliak said he would be surprised if Rosenthal did not make the big-league roster.
Outfielder Matt Holliday, who has been away from camp for three days battling a virus, returned to the clubhouse this morning.
Though feeling better, He did not know when he would be cleared to rejoin drills or play.
He is not in the lineup today.
Here it is:
1. Daniel Descalso, 3B
2. Matt Carpenter, 2B
3. Allen Craig, 1B
4. Matt Adams, DH
5. Oscar Taveras,CF
6. Shane Robinson, RF
7. Rob Johnson, C
8. Adron Chambers, LF
9. Ronny Cedeno, SS
After Garcia and Rosenthal, here are the pitchers scheduled to appear: Mujica, Eduardo Sanchez, Barret Browning, Kevin Siegrist, Keith Butler, and Victor Marte.