In fact, the first four pitchers to appear in the contest are playing at a lower level than their abilities indicate. Three are rehabbers with the fourth a top draft pick for whose workload has been managed carefully. They all pitched one inning Tuesday.
Right-hander Whiting, 22, was making his official 2012 debut. It was a good one as he tossed a 1-2-3 second inning. The Cards' 18th-rounder in 2010 has been on the disabled list of A-Advanced Palm Beach after starring with Quad Cities' 2011 championship club. Whiting, our 28th-ranked Cardinals prospect coming into the season, had been sidelined since spring camp by a forearm flexor strain.
Wednesday marked Copeland's second outing in his return from surgery to relieve Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The left-hander's outing was rougher, as the Astros tagged him with the loss. They scored three runs on four hits, including a home run. Like the other two Cardinals rehabbers, the 24-year-old has been on Palm Beach's DL the entire season to-date. You can read more about Copeland's journey here.
There is also news about Wacha. The former Texas A&M star will soon be promoted from the Gulf Coast League to a more appropriate level, the A-Advanced Florida State League.
However, the organization remains concerned about Wacha's heavy college workload this spring. Therefore, they will use him as a reliever for the remainder of this season before he returns to starting in 2013. His Palm Beach relief appearances will be scheduled each fifth day.
The 21-year-old threw a 1-2-3 inning on Wednesday. Overall in the GCL, Wacha has logged five one-run innings over three games, fanning seven and walking none.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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