ST. LOUIS -- For the third straight day, the Cardinals left their traditional jerseys untouched and donned commemorative ones instead. There was gold on the uniforms on Friday and Saturday, as the team celebrated its 2011 World Series championship. On Sunday, everyone wore No. 42.
In conjunction with Jackie Robinson Day, celebrated across Major League Baseball each April 15th, all players and uniformed staff wore nameless jerseys with Robinson's number. MLB retired No. 42 in 1997, making this the only day that anyone, besides Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, is able to wear the number. Rivera was wearing the number before the league-wide retirement.
"I think it's a great move by the game," manager Mike Matheny said. "What Jackie Robinson has meant to this game and what his memory stands for is something that we can't forget. The courage and the mental toughness that he had -- I think baseball picked the perfect person to come in and really break that barrier. He really represented himself and this game very well."
The Cardinals played a short video tribute with clips from Robinson's career prior to beginning their afternoon game against the Cubs.
Carpenter's work at first paying off for Cards
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter's decision to learn the first-base position this offseason not only thrust him up the depth chart during spring, but it has also proven key in the Cardinals' ability to handle the recent absence of Lance Berkman.
Heading into camp, there was some concern about the Cardinals' depth at the position, at least during for the time the club would be without Allen Craig. With Craig unavailable to back up Berkman, St. Louis didn't have an obvious second option. Those concerns faded, though, as Carpenter proved during Grapefruit League play that he could handle the position defensively. His offensive production has only added to his value.
While the 26-year-old isn't expected to replace Berkman's production, he's certainly lessened the impact of the veteran's absence.
"Whatever my role is going to be, I'm willing to do that and every chance I get to help win a game," said Carpenter, who drove in a run with a second-inning single on Sunday. "We need Lance to get healthy. Until he does, hopefully I can get the job done. I have to focus on what I can do, which is have consistent positive at-bats and play good defense and just give my best effort when I'm in there."
Sunday marked Carpenter's fifth start at first base, a position he played only once in the Minors. While manager Mike Matheny noted that there are some footwork improvements that Carpenter can still make, his inexperience at the spot has not been highlighted thus far.
"He's such a conscientious player that he's going to pick it up," Matheny said. "And he's such a talented athlete who can make the adjustments. I don't think you're going to see anything but him get better the more time he spends out there."
Freese, Berkman ailing, but available
ST. LOUIS -- Infielders David Freese and Lance Berkman remained out of the Cardinals' starting lineup on Sunday, though both were cleared to pinch-hit, if needed.
Freese, who has an irritated right ring finger, is still having trouble gripping his bat, manager Mike Matheny said. The third baseman did not participate in batting practice prior to Sunday's game. Berkman (left calf strain) was out on the field during batting practice and appeared to be moving well.
With an off-day on Monday, the Cardinals are hopeful that Berkman and Freese will be cleared to return to the lineup on Tuesday.
Skip Schumaker (right oblique injury) began a Minor League rehab stint with Triple-A Memphis on Sunday. He played five innings at second base and went 0-for-2 at the plate. Schumaker needs to accrue several at-bats after getting just 21 in Spring Training.
That Memphis club entered Sunday on a nine-game losing streak, though first baseman Matt Adams continued to play well. He went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored on Saturday. In his first 10 games at the Triple-A level, Adams was hitting .410 with seven runs scored, seven extra-base hits and seven RBIs.
The Cardinals are scheduled to face three more right-handed starters in their upcoming series against the Reds. Johnny Cueto will start the series opener. Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo will follow him in the Cincinnati rotation. St. Louis has been opposed by a left-handed starter only twice through these first 10 games.
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.