Garcia 'encouraged' by first camp bullpen session
Working way back from shoulder injury, Cards lefty won't be limited this spring
JUPITER, Fla. -- Jaime Garcia, whose 2012 season was dotted with shoulder problems, garnered a substantial amount of attention on Tuesday when he took the mound for a bullpen session as part of the Cardinals' first official workout. Of interest, of course, is the health of the team's only left-handed starter.
For Garcia, though, he's well past such point of concern.
Garcia estimated that Tuesday's side session was his seventh or eighth already this spring. He got a head start on the work back in Texas, where he spent the winter rehabbing from a season-ending left shoulder injury.
That rehab process, Garcia reported, went seamlessly, and the mound work Garcia has completed in recent weeks has followed suit.
"I'm really encouraged," Garcia said. "I've been saying this the whole time. I'm feeling strong and healthy. Everything went this offseason as good as it could have gone. I'm at a point where I worked so hard this offseason, and I'm working hard right now and just taking it one day at a time."
The Cardinals do not have plans to limit Garcia's spring workload, nor is he on a different program than the one he has followed in the past. Garcia said he does not have any medical checkups scheduled, an indication that everyone is pleased with how his shoulder has responded.
Garcia went 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 20 starts last year, but his season was interrupted and then ended with shoulder problems. He spent seven weeks on the disabled list with a shoulder strain during the summer. After an abbreviated postseason start in which he felt additional shoulder discomfort, Garcia was removed from the playoff roster.
"It was one of the toughest things I've had to experience in my career," Garcia said. "But you move forward. You learn from the bad. You take good things out of everything. I want to do my work and see where it goes. As far as I can tell, everything is good and healthy and strong."
Mozeliak: Wainwright, club not close on extension
JUPITER, Fla. -- While acknowledging that there has been recent dialogue between the sides, general manager John Mozeliak said on Tuesday that the Cardinals and right-hander Adam Wainwright are not close to reaching an agreement on a contract extension.
Wainwright reported to Spring Training with this being the final year of his current contract, which will pay Wainwright $12 million in 2013. Both he and the Cardinals have expressed interest in getting an extension worked out, though obviously both enter negotiations from different points.
"I think both parties have a similar goal," Mozeliak said. "In time, we'll see if we can work towards it."
Wainwright, 31, and his agent have not given the Cardinals a specific cut-off point for negotiations, indicating that they'd be willing to continue conversations into the regular season, if necessary.
Martinez lone absentee due to work visa issue
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals had near full participation in their first pitchers-and-catchers workout of the spring on Tuesday. The only absence among the expected 36 participating players was 20-year-old righty Carlos Martinez, who remains in the Dominican Republic as he awaits a work visa.
General manager John Mozeliak said that the Cardinals have been in contact with Major League Baseball in hopes that the MLB office can help expedite the visa approval process.
Martinez was among the non-roster players invited to participate in Major League camp. Though he is not in competition for a big league roster spot, the Cardinals were looking forward to having Martinez spend a few weeks shadowing the organization's more experienced pitchers.
"Right now, if it's just a few days or a week, it's not the end of the world," Mozeliak said of Martinez's tardiness. "But if this thing drags into March then obviously it's a huge concern. We'll cross that bridge when we get there."
The Cardinals are also anticipating a visa hang-up with infielder Ronny Cedeno, who is coming from Venezuela. Mozeliak said that Cedeno's delay is due to the fact that the middle infielder did not sign until late January. The Cardinals' position players are supposed to report to Jupiter by the end of the day on Thursday.
• Mozeliak reiterated that he does not anticipate the organization seeking additional starting pitching help from outside this spring, unless circumstances were to change. The club has maintained this stance despite recent news that Chris Carpenter is out indefinitely.
"We've exhausted a lot of things there," Mozeliak said, "and feel pretty comfortable with what we have."
• After physical exams and a morning meeting led by manager Mike Matheny, the Cardinals began their first official spring workout at about 10:30 a.m. CT on Tuesday. A total of 14 pitchers threw bullpen sessions, including one group that featured closer Jason Motte, Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha all throwing side by side.
• Allen Craig, David Freese and Daniel Descalso are among a growing group of position players who have reported to Spring Training early.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.