Fowler already making impact at Cards camp

Veteran outfielder's unique personality a hit among teammates

Fowler already making impact at Cards camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- The biggest impact made by new outfielder Dexter Fowler thus far could be heard, not seen, on the backfields of the team's spring complex Friday.

Fowler admitted that he was the one who suggested a portable speaker be set up so that players could conduct their workouts amid a variety of tunes. It added a new wrinkle to workouts, not before seen since Mike Matheny took over as manager.

"I said, 'We need some music,'" Fowler explained. "I like to have music everywhere. It seems a little too quiet out there."

Fowler's gregarious personality was one of the characteristics that drew the Cardinals to him this offseason. He has promised to bring levity to the clubhouse, stability to the outfield and a personality bigger than most of the players the club has had in recent seasons.

"Guys are already being drawn to him," Matheny said. "You don't see many players come in this quick and make that kind of impact. We're here Day One and are already talking about that impact."

Matheny on Fowler's first day

Schedule changes

Matheny promised that changes were coming to the structure of Spring Training workouts, and one of those was revealed as the club held its first full-squad workout Friday.

Built into the schedule this year is a new block of time in which individual work is available. That work can be specialized to what a player needs or could include a breakout group session, Matheny explained.

"We have a bunch of coaches who just want to teach and serve them," Matheny said. "It's going to provide some time for guys to work as much as they want to. We'll be here to turn on lights if someone needs it."

In the past, the team's daily Spring Training schedule accounted for each minute of the workout by noting what drills were going on at that time. This year's tweaks allow for more flexibility in that schedule.

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Other items of note from Friday's workout

Yadier Molina was granted permission to return to Puerto Rico for two days to attend the Opening Day festivities of an amateur team in which he and his family have a financial stake. Molina will be honored by that club and is then expected back in Florida by Sunday.

Marco Gonzales, who is 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery, took the mound and threw two sets of 15 pitches without issue. Tyler Lyons hit another benchmark in his recovery from knee surgery by throwing off the mound to a squatting catcher.

• The Cardinals added three more pitchers to big league camp after growing concerned that they might not have enough available arms to cover all innings early in Grapefruit League play. New faces in the clubhouse include Junior Fernandez, Jacob Woodford and Josh Lucas.

• After being away from camp earlier this week to attend a family funeral, Lance Lynn threw his first bullpen session of Spring Training.

Alex Reyes, his right arm in a sling, stopped by camp Friday, one day after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.