Cardinals looking for leaders to step up

Cardinals looking for leaders to step up

Cardinals looking for leaders to step up
DETROIT -- Skip Schumaker spent several minutes in a closed-door meeting with manager Mike Matheny on Wednesday, during which the two talked about ways to encourage others to take more of a vocal leadership role on this team.

"You also look at their personalities, and there are a lot of quiet personalities. There really are," Matheny said. "Sometimes you come into a completely dead atmosphere after you've just had a good inning and that's not something that translates well into the next at-bat. That's something we're working through."

The absence of much palpable energy in the dugout is, Matheny believes, partially the result of the Cardinals having several young players on the bench. It hasn't helped either that the team has been without the big personality of Lance Berkman for several weeks now. Rafael Furcal's loud personality has been tempered some, too, by his recent struggles.

Matheny is hopeful that the presence of Schumaker, who came off the disabled list on Tuesday, and Chris Carpenter, who, though still on the DL, is on his first road trip of the year, will provide a boost in the dugout and clubhouse.

"It's been fun for the last few days," Carpenter said. "We've got a bunch of games here coming up, and hopefully we can win some, and I can stay on future trips. [Being with the team] definitely puts you in a better position to be a part of it."

The Cardinals could get another pick-me-up in the energy department next week, as there is the possibility Berkman will rejoin the team during its next homestand. The first baseman has been in Houston since undergoing surgery on his right knee.

"It's good to get the vocal players and the guys with the experience," Matheny said. "That, to me, is leadership. Not just the vocal part, but the intensity. I don't think anybody doubts the intensity of a Chris Carpenter or a Skip Schumaker. Trying to keep that going with key pieces missing becomes a challenge for the bench guys, as well as the everyday guys."