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Carpenter leaves void in the clubhouse

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JUPITER, Fla. • While the Cardinals approached spring training with the hope of getting similar results from their tandem aces, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, on the mound, the absence of Carpenter has left them with more than innings to fill.

Who is going to be the bad cop in the clubhouse?

“I thought they complemented each other well,” manager Mike Matheny said, referring to the approaches Carpenter and Wainwright took when leading teammates. “You had a little bit of the guy who would scream and get in your face and threaten everybody in the shouting area. That was beautiful. You don’t see much of that in the game anymore. Times have changed somewhat. … That’s just who he was. Adam has been who he is.”

Said Wainwright: “I think I would be a horrible bad cop.”

The clubhouse dynamics this season are something the Cardinals will watch without some the previous team’s defining personalities. Beyond the absence of Carpenter’s voice and ability to enforce accountability – it was the righty who said back in 2011 that the team risked embarrassing itself by underachieving – there are the gaps left by Lance Berkman’s departure and trade of Skip Schumaker. Both played key roles in the ecosystem of the team. In the past week, players like David Freese have referenced a need for his generation of players to grow into those roles.

Wainwright said it’s not a matter of replacing those players, and that this year’s team could do its “policing” in a different way.

“Adam is going to take a guy aside and he’s going to talk to him quietly away from everybody else, whereas Carp – you might get an earful and you’re going to be sore afterward,” Matheny said. “That was great. Can we progress and succeed without that? Yeah. That’s what we’re left with.”

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