Carpenter makes fielding drills a family affair

April 12th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- Baseball players all over are recruiting their family to help them stay in shape while there's no baseball, from Nationals left-hander Sean Doolittle's dogs to Rangers utilityman Nick Solak and his fiancée building a mini-ballpark in their backyard.

Not many players have the benefit of participating in true baseball activity with their family while in isolation, though. But when you come from a baseball family, like does, you have to take advantage.

The Cardinals' third baseman made his fielding drills a family affair Friday with his dad, Rick, hitting fungoes to third, where Matt fielded them and threw to his brother, Tyler, at first. Matt’s sister, Caitlyn Gambill, was filming, and her husband, Chase Gambill, occasionally subbed in at first base for Tyler.

“If you ever wondered what my childhood was like ... here’s a glimpse of it,” Caitlyn wrote on her Instagram story, which Matt then shared on his story.

Tyler Carpenter played in the Mets' organization from 2011-12, and Rick Carpenter retired from coaching baseball at Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, last summer. He left as one of the most successful coaches in state history, with a career record of 883-311-8 in 37 seasons, which included three state championships at Elkins and a fourth with Prosper High School in 2015.

Matt often credits his dad with helping him get to the Majors, and he still leans on Rick’s advice every now and then. Rick, who coached both Matt and Tyler at Elkins High School, retired in part to give himself more time with his family and to watch Matt play for the Cardinals.

Turns out, staying at home in Texas during this time allows Rick to take part in Matt’s baseball life even more than he might have during the season. Every player needs someone to hit fungoes to help stay in baseball shape. It certainly helps when that person is an award-winning coach -- and your dad.

Carpenter is entering his 10th season with the Cardinals, and the three-time All-Star is eyeing a bounce-back year after hitting .226/.334/.392 last season. In 17 Spring Training at-bats, Carpenter had a .969 OPS with two home runs.