JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran will make his Cardinals debut on Monday, though he won't be seen roaming around the outfield at Roger Dean Stadium.
Manager Mike Matheny confirmed that Beltran will serve as the club's designated hitter in Monday's Grapefruit League opener. It is customary for National League teams to utilize a designated hitter during these early games so that there is an opportunity for another position player to get game at-bats each day.
As the regular season gets nearer, NL pitchers will begin to hit.
Matheny wouldn't cite a direct correlation between some minor right shoulder soreness Beltran is dealing with and the decision to have him not play the field on Monday. However, it's no secret that Beltran is among the veteran players that the Cardinals are going to handle with care this spring.
"He claims that [his shoulder] feels pretty good," Matheny said. "Let's err on the side of caution. I know he's happy with where he is, so let's make him happier and let his body respond by just going slow."
Matt Holliday will serve as the club's designated hitter on Tuesday, when the Cardinals face the Mets in Port St. Lucie.
Wainwright throws final BP before game action
JUPITER, Fla. -- For nearly a month now, Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright has been able to identify March 9 as the next key date in his return from Tommy John surgery. That date has only since grown into clearer focus, particularly now that Wainwright has wrapped up all the work he'll do against his own teammates this spring.
Wainwright threw his third and final live batting practice session of Spring Training on Sunday and now has only days left to wait before he can once again take a stadium mound. Friday's start against the Twins will be Wainwright's first game action since September 2010.
It will also, interestingly enough, be Wainwright's first trip to the city of Fort Myers, which is the spring home to both the Twins and Red Sox. To say that he would gladly make the 282-mile roundtrip trek would be grossly understating the obvious.
"At this point, I could not care less where it is," Wainwright said. "I would take a bus to Arizona to pitch in a game if that's what I had to do."
Wainwright approached Sunday's 30-pitch live batting practice session with game intensity. He did his best to simulate game situations, even forcing himself to pitch out of the stretch after he simulated giving up a walk. He completed his normal sequence of warmup pitches in between his two 15-pitch frames, and at one point even fielded a chopper just to his left before running to step on first base.
While Wainwright will be looking to retire Minnesota's hitters on Friday, he is still just as concerned with the process as he is with the results. With several weeks left before the start of the regular season, the right-hander has some time left to polish his command and refine his pitches.
Though the outing will likely last only last two innings, it will nevertheless be a significant moment in Wainwright's career. He admitted such again on Sunday, while reaffirming that he has felt no arm soreness through this build-up process.
"I'm normally not a butterfly guy [but] I expect some butterflies [on Friday]," Wainwright said. "There have been several real key moments in my life where I've had some butterflies."
Furcal to play in first spring game on Thursday
JUPITER, Fla. -- Rafael Furcal will wait until Thursday to play in his first spring game, though the Cardinals shortstop said the delay in taking the field is not injury-related.
"I'm fine," Furcal said on Sunday. "I'm 100 percent. It's something where I think they want to see the [younger] guys play more and then give me a chance to play."
That's part of it, though the Cardinals are also treading lightly when it comes to pushing Furcal onto the field this spring. Four different injuries have landed him on the disabled list four times since April 2010. As a result, the 34-year-old infielder has combined to make only 174 starts over the last two seasons.
In an effort to minimize the time Furcal spends off the field and in the trainers' room, the Cardinals have taken a specialized medical approach with him this spring. The medical staff has put Furcal through a series of test to, as Matheny explained it, help take steps to identify areas of his body that could potentially become a weakness. By recognizing those areas on the front end, the Cardinals can be proactive against a breakdown.
The Cardinals were not going to have Furcal play in Sunday's planned intrasquad game, though that game was eventually cancelled due to rain.
"He's another guy we're just going slow with," Matheny said. "Once again, [we're] talking about what sets him up best for the season."
Sunday's scheduled intrasquad game was washed out by a rainstorm that passed over the Cardinals' spring complex about the time workouts were supposed to start. Because of the delay and some wet field conditions, manager Mike Matheny opted against sending his players out to compete in a friendly red team-versus-blue team competition.
"It's not worth it," Matheny said. "I was always halfway about [playing an intrasquad game] anyway. I saw value and I think guys were kind of excited about it, getting to turn it up a bit. It's just not worth it."
Because of the field conditions, the Cardinals also did not take any infield work. Position players hit in the batting cages, and some also participated in live batting practice. For the first time this spring, first baseman Matt Adams had been scheduled to participate in defensive drills with the Major League infielders.
Scott Linebrink threw a side session on Saturday, marking the veteran reliever's first throws off the mound since Tuesday. Linebrink skipped his last session after feeling some minor tightness in his right hamstring while running.
Seven pitchers threw during live batting practice on Sunday. Those pitchers included Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Mitchell Boggs, Eduardo Sanchez, J.C. Romero, Adam Ottavino and Chuckie Fick.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.