Minor League pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 4, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on Wednesday, March 6.
Once again, the Cardinals will be running an early camp for selected minor league players. This group will report earlier, on Friday, February 22 with their first workout the next day.
The identities of the early camp invitees and full-camp participants will be disclosed once the major league club announces its slate of non-roster invitees to big-league camp. Obviously, the latter takes precedence.
The Jupiter complex offers great opportunities to get up close and personal with prospects. Most March mornings, players will be working out in preparation for 1:00 P.M. games that begin on Wednesday, March 13 and run through Sunday, March 31.
The players will work out together for six days before their first intersquad games on Wednesday, March 13. The first contests against external competition will be against their Jupiter cohabitants, the Miami Marlins, on Thursday, March 14. Camp will break on Monday, April 1, in preparation for the opening of the minor league regular seasons on Thursday, April 4.
As usual, the farmhands of the Cardinals and Marlins face off frequently, six times. The good news is that the "road" trips are only to the Marlins' side of the RDS minor league fields. Against the Marlins, the Cardinals will field a second Peoria team, with five games scheduled those days – assuming both sides have ample pitching in need of work.
The Mets are the only other MLB organization remaining in the area, in Port St. Lucie, 33 miles from Jupiter. They make up the remainder of the Cardinals schedule, also with six days' worth of contests. As has been customary in recent years, the Mets dates are split – as the Cards' Triple-A (Memphis) and Double-A (Springfield) teams play in one location while the Single-A squads (Palm Beach and Peoria) compete on the other organization's fields. That means only half of each system's players have to take the requisite bus ride to the other's fields on those six dates.
Because of the odd total number of teams in the area, the Cardinals will have a camp day roughly every third day. That would be when the Mets and Marlins meet. Typically on those camp days, the Cardinals' Triple-A and Double-A squads will face off as will their Single-A clubs.
The best news that the limited competition provides is for fans. Not a single day will pass during spring camp – even camp days - in which baseball is not played on the back diamonds of Roger Dean. The biggest inconvenience is that three times, observers will have to walk to the Marlins' fields instead of the Cardinals'.
With the respective home plates on the RDS back quad, named in honor of the departed great George Kissell, arranged in close proximity to each other like in a softball complex, fans can easily move among the various games by taking just a handful of steps.
While games typically start at 1 p.m. each day as noted above, impending weather can lead to last-minute changes. For example, if afternoon rain appears likely, morning workouts may be truncated with games moved up to 10 a.m. It is always best to check when you arrive.
You never know who you'll see while there, and best of all, attendance is free! So, if you're interested in the Cardinals minor leaguers, make sure you catch the action this spring in Florida. You'll be glad you did!
2013 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedule
(All Cardinals home games start on or about 1:00 p.m. Eastern)
|Date||Memphis||Springfield||Palm Beach||Peoria||Peoria 2|
|Th||14-Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Fr||15-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Sa||16-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Su||17-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Mo||18-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Tu||19-Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|We||20-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Th||21-Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Fr||22-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Sa||23-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Su||24-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Mo||25-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Tu||26-Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|We||27-Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Th||28-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Fr||29-Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Sa||30-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Su||31-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Th||4-Apr||Reg season||Reg season||Reg season||Reg season|
Link to the Roster Matrix, listing all players in the Cardinals system by position and level as they ended the 2012 season.
Link to Cardinals major league spring training schedule. Games start February 23.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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