JUPITER, Fla. -- Despite a few rough outings from his starting pitchers, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny isn't overly concerned -- not at this point in Spring Training anyway.
Carlos Martinez had a rocky first outing, walking three in 1 1/3 innings of work. Jack Flaherty owns a 9.00 ERA over two starts this spring, and that's better than either Bud Norris (14.54) -- over one start and one relief appearance -- and Miles Mikolas (19.29) over two starts.
"Obviously, guys are trying to get ready for the season," Matheny said Sunday before the Cardinals' 4-1 loss to Houston. "You want to see them compete. You want to see some glimpses of things they've worked on over the winter and are trying to implement on the field, but it's not wise for us to make any wholesale conclusions to what we've seen so far."
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Schafer still adjusting as pitcher
Jordan Schafer continues the slow process of recovering from left elbow surgery while still learning a new position. The converted outfielder has given up seven runs over two appearances that have lasted a combined two-thirds of an inning.
Still, Matheny remains patient with the left-handed Schafer, who continues to work on his fastball command.
"It just takes time to where you get that great feel back to where you have the location," Matheny said. "You need to have the stuff and the location in order to maximize your chances. He's still in the process of figuring all that out. He hasn't been doing this very long.
"At this point you see guys that are getting hit, it's usually they're working behind in the count and finding too much of the plate. That was his first time out," Matheny said of Schafer's five-run outing vs. the Marlins on Feb. 23. "He just couldn't control the strike zone with his fastball. That's never going to work out well."
Harrison Bader continues to make a bid to climb up the Cardinals' depth chart. The 23-year-old outfielder went 2-for-4 and drove in a run Sunday, raising his batting average to .348 (8-for-23) this spring. Bader is battling Jose Martinez and Tyler O'Neill for playing time in the outfield.
O'Neill is still a while away from returning from a strained left oblique muscle.
"But they caught it pretty early, so he's progressing," Matheny said.
O'Neill hit 31 homers last season with Triple-A Memphis. He came to the Cardinals from Seattle last July in a trade for left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales.
The Cardinals host the Nationals on Monday at 12:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV. Right-hander Luke Weaver opens up the game for the Cards. This will be Weaver's second start of the spring after he allowed one unearned run over two innings against the Red Sox on Tuesday.