JUPITER, Fla. • The longest-running play during Cardinals spring training 2013 was not the breakout hit of Michael Wacha or the ongoing questions about Rafael Furcal's elbow, but something involving a player who wasn't even on the field.
Waiting for Carlos became a camp theme.
Its run has already ended this year.
Although the Cardinals and Carlos Martinez started the process of applying for a visa before Christmas 2012, by the time spring training started in February 2013 the young righty had not received the necessary paperwork to leave the Dominican Republic and report. He waited. The Cardinals. He waited. The Cardinals waited. Spring started. They still waited. Games started. They still waited.
By the time Martinez was able to report to spring training -- visa in hand -- he was several weeks behind and his chance to make an impression had vanished.
Entering spring training, several officials with the Cardinals had pegged Martinez as the minor-league pitcher who could do what Trevor Rosenthal did the year before: Impress so much that he would either break camp with the big-league club or be an addition early in the season after some minor-league fine-tuning. Like Rosenthal in 2012, the Cardinals believed Martinez could jump from Class AA to the majors based on a strong spring.
He didn't get that spring, but he did make that jump.
This spring there is no delay.
Martinez arrived to camp this morning, on time and ready for the club's report day. The first official workout for pitchers and catchers will be Thursday at the team's Roger Dean Stadium complex. Martinez arrives as part of a crowded competition for five spots in the rotation. There is an incumbent for every one of them, meaning Martinez would have to elbow aside another starter to have the role.
Others who appeared on campus for the first time today: newly signed righty Pat Neshek, assistant hitting coach David Bell, and left fielder Matt Holliday.
With Oscar Taveras already in camp and Martinez unpacking and organizing his locker this morning, the Cardinals have the prominent players already present and working out that would be snared by visa questions. Jhonny Peralta has not yet arrived. Position players don't report until next week. The Cardinals have not expressed any expectation of a delay in his arrival.
UPDATE: Non-roster pitcher Jose Almarante has had a delay in obtaining a work visa and has not reported to camp. The Cardinals have also had one pitcher delayed by poor weather, manager Mike Matheny said.