If spring training is the wrong time and place to fall in love, it should also be an inappropriate setting for nausea and consternation. But just as it’s been difficult to maintain perspective over precocious talents such as 20-year-old outfielder Oscar Taveras and last year’s first-round draftee, Michael Wacha, it’s becoming a challenge to dismiss the injuries – large and small, typical and bizarre — that increasingly define Cardinals camp.

Every team suffers bumps and bruises during a seven-week grind. None sets its February and March calendar to them like the Cardinals.

David Freese tumbled into an unlocked photo well on a Monday (March 4) and landed on the disabled list on a Tuesday (March 26) three weeks later. As if finality on Freese weren’t enough, the Cardinals scratched left fielder Matt Holliday from Tuesday’s start because of discomfort in his left side. Holliday endured a stomach condition earlier in camp that cost him more than 10 pounds. (That began on a Wednesday – March 6.)

Tuesday news is indeed full of woe. An official announcement at Busch Stadium on another Tuesday (Feb. 5) began the waterfall of tough news. Days before leaving for Jupiter, general manager John Mozeliak confirmed that Chris Carpenter’s right shoulder, arm and hand were displaying renewed signs of the nerve disorder that necessitated surgery last July.

Manager Mike Matheny left camp on a Thursday (March 14) for surgery to alleviate a back condition that made it impossible for him to sit without experiencing excruciating pain. Matheny returned to St. Louis a week after the club announced on another Thursday (March 7) that shortstop Rafael Furcal required season-ending surgery to address a frayed elbow ligament.

Off days are even dangerous. It fell on a Friday (March 8) when reliever Marc Rzepczynski suffered a lacerated eye while attempting a recovery shot, of all things, during a round of golf. The Friday before (March 1), right fielder Carlos Beltran had taken a pitch thrown by Westminster graduate Jacob Turner off his right small toe. Turner’s wildness was a bad omen for him as well; the Miami Marlins optioned him Sunday.