Bowman's Grapefruit League debut postponed

Rule 5 Draft pick struck in face by ball, to be reevaluated on Monday

Bowman's Grapefruit League debut postponed

JUPITER, Fla. -- Rule 5 Draft pick Matthew Bowman will miss the next few days of baseball activities after having his right eye bruised when a ball struck him in the face on Wednesday.

The Cardinals sent Bowman to an eye specialist for further evaluation on Thursday after he woke up with blurred vision. After returning from that visit, Bowman said the doctor suggested the right-hander not participate in any physical activity until he is reevaluated on Monday.

That means Bowman will have to wait a little longer than expected to make his first Grapefruit League appearance, which had been scheduled for Thursday.

"A couple days off from throwing is not going to set me back at all," said Bowman, who took the ball off his eye during a pitcher-reaction drill. "Unfortunately, I missed today throwing in the game, but I'll cross my fingers that that's it."

The Cardinals had hoped to see Bowman pitch two innings in their Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins as they continue evaluating him for a potential bullpen role. Because he came to the Cardinals as a Rule 5 Draft pick, Bowman must make the team's 25-man roster and remain on it all season for the club to ensure he remains in the organization.

If the Cardinals don't have a place for him on their Opening Day roster, they must place Bowman on waivers and, if no one claims him, then offer him back to the Mets for half the $50,000 purchase price the Cardinals paid to acquire him in December.

Roster decisions can wait, however, as the Cardinals plan to use the next four weeks to get a closer look at Bowman, a former 13th-round pick out of Princeton University. The 24-year-old right-hander steadily climbed through the Mets' system, reaching Triple-A in 2014.

Bowman went 7-16 with a 5.53 ERA and a 1.679 WHIP over 140 innings with the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate last season. The Cardinals were drawn to the potential Bowman could have outside the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, which is why they chose to nab him when he was left exposed in the Rule 5 Draft.

Though Bowman has pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the Minors, the Cardinals will consider him for a long-relief role in their bullpen.

"His stuff looks good, first and foremost," manager Mike Matheny said. "And then watching how he's using it and how he self-evaluates … you can tell that he's put plenty of thought into why he does what he does and how he does it. That's usually a sign of maturity and insight."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.