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Tight back may keep Carpenter out of Classic

Cards' first baseman due to join Team USA on Monday
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Matt Carpenter's participation in the World Baseball Classic has become uncertain due to back tightness that has left him limited the past two days.

Manager Mike Matheny said the Cardinals cut back on Carpenter's work again Friday, one day after the first baseman was scratched. The issue isn't expected to persist for long, but Carpenter is up against the clock with the Classic starting next week.

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Matt Carpenter's participation in the World Baseball Classic has become uncertain due to back tightness that has left him limited the past two days.

Manager Mike Matheny said the Cardinals cut back on Carpenter's work again Friday, one day after the first baseman was scratched. The issue isn't expected to persist for long, but Carpenter is up against the clock with the Classic starting next week.

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:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::

He had been scheduled to depart camp Monday to join Team USA. Now, that's in jeopardy.

"I think everything is in conversation at this point," Matheny said of Carpenter's status for the tournament. "We're just trying to get him right and feeling out what he's going to need. We'll follow his lead on it."

The World Baseball Classic runs from Monday through March 22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. The tournament will be distributed internationally across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Start me up

With Carlos Martinez leaving for the Classic this weekend, the Cardinals have tapped Trevor Rosenthal for Monday's start. It will be Rosenthal's first start since 2012, when he was pitching for Triple-A Memphis.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and stretching out for a few innings," Rosenthal said. "I think it will be fun to know I'll have an opportunity to be out there longer and have a longer opportunity to work on some stuff."

The former closer allowed one run on two hits over one inning in Friday's 2-1 win over Washington in 10 innings. The work was a tuneup for Monday, when Rosenthal will extend to about 50 pitches.

It's all a part of the Cardinals' plan to stretch Rosenthal this spring so that he can be ready for a variety of roles, depending on need. It's still most likely he'll end up in the bullpen.

Labor of glove

Shortly before the Cardinals boarded a bus for Friday's road game, Matheny found Matt Adams in the clubhouse and made an important delivery: He presented Adams with his glove.

Before and after workouts this spring, Matheny has been busy breaking in gloves for several players. They seek out his help -- yes, Matheny's reputation as the "glove breaker-inner guy" precedes him -- and he molds the mitt to their liking. That includes going into the cage and catching dozens of balls off the machine and/or using a mallet to break up the stiffness.

"I used to always break in other peoples' catchers' mitts, too," Matheny said. "It takes me back. That was my favorite deal. You get a new glove, the smell and breaking it in. I haven't been sleeping on it, but I used to do that. I used to hear, 'Put it under your mattress,' and I don't do that now. I would have some serious neck and backaches."

In addition to helping the catchers perfect their mitts, Matheny has already worked on gloves for Adams, Carpenter and Stephen Piscotty this spring.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com 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.

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter