ST. LOUIS -- The offseason number shuffle continues for the Cardinals, with manager Mike Matheny announcing on Wednesday that he will now wear No. 26 as a gesture to honor a late friend. In taking that number, closer Trevor Rosenthal had to choose another. Rosenthal, the club confirmed, will don No. 44.
The number swapping started in November, when Matheny chose to offer his longtime number (22) to new outfielder Jason Heyward. Heyward, acquired in a four-player deal with the Braves, has worn No. 22 his entire Major League career. He selected it as a way to remember former high school teammate, Andy Wilmot, who was killed in an automobile accident shortly after graduation.
Matheny, after working through the proper merchandising protocol, called Heyward to let him know the number was now his. Then, Matheny went to work finding a new one for himself. He considered various options, including the only other number he wore as a Cardinals player (44) and the number his wife wore as a field hockey player in college (21).
Ultimately, though, he took No. 26, the hockey jersey number worn by St. Louis native Sean Glanvill, who was 12 years old when he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a single-car accident. Matheny wrote in a blog entry on Wednesday that while Glanvill was given a less than 1 percent chance of surviving the first night after the accident, he went on to live for seven more years.
Glanvill was 20 when he died on Nov. 10. Matheny has known the Glanvill family for years.
"For seven years, Sean displayed a toughness and fight for his life, while the rest of the Glanvill family displayed the kind of love, faith, support, and commitment that was truly remarkable," Matheny wrote at mikematheny.com. "In honor of Sean, as well as his parents Derek and Penny, who are two of my closest friends, I am honored to wear the No. 26 on my Cardinal jersey for the upcoming season."
Rosenthal, in turn, takes the number that was most recently worn by Carlos Martinez. Earlier this offseason, Martinez asked to switch his to No. 18 as a way to honor Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Oct. 26. The Cardinals recently granted him permission to do so.
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.