Rosenthal feels good afer first 'pen session

Righty will throw another Thursday, then Cards will determine next step

Rosenthal feels good afer first 'pen session

ST. LOUIS -- Sidelined by a right lat strain for the second time this spring, Trevor Rosenthal returned to the mound Tuesday for his first bullpen session since the Cardinals broke camp.

Rosenthal described this session as "low intensity." Assuming he recovers well, Rosenthal will throw another bullpen session at a higher intensity Thursday. The Cardinals will then determine his next step and whether a Minor League rehab assignment will be needed.

Rosenthal, placed on the 10-day disabled list last week, is eligible to return Sunday.

"I feel really good," Rosenthal said. "It's better. [The discomfort] has been gone for five or six days. We're just trying to make sure it's not an issue."

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Rosenthal had similar discomfort around his lat muscle in early March, and that sidelined him from Grapefruit League play for nearly two weeks. The recurrence of the issue later in the month prompted the Cardinals to take the cautious approach of placing Rosenthal on the DL to start the season.

Defensive work on display

Though pitchers' fielding practice takes place almost daily during Spring Training, it's not typically a part of the club's pregame routine once the season starts. But for the Cardinals, that's about to change.

Before batting practice Tuesday, the pitchers gathered on the field for a drill in which they practiced taking throws from a first baseman while covering the base. Manager Mike Matheny explained afterward that such practice is going to become the norm.

"Most likely, you're going to see something going on every single day," he said. "Kind of building off what we did in the spring and giving guys a say on some of the things they felt they could do better, and obviously they wanted to field their positions better. Instead of just talking about being better, we're going to work at it on a pretty consistent basis."

The specific drills, he added, will vary day by day.

Locker room additions

The coaches' locker room at Busch Stadium now has space specifically designated for two former players, Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee.

McGee, a special assistant to general manager John Mozeliak, spends much of the season offering instruction at the Cardinals' Minor League affiliates. Matheny hopes, however, that he'll be a frequent visitor to Busch Stadium, along with Smith, who still lives in the St. Louis area. The Cardinals believe that members of the big league roster can benefit from the instruction and guidance that both can offer. Both were among the guest instructors who assisted the Cards in Spring Training.

"I want them here," Matheny said. "We'd like to have them around, keep them engaged. They're valuable to our organization and we know they can help these guys."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.