Carlos Martinez finishes winter on high note

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez followed up his worst winter outing with his best.

On Wednesday evening, Carlos Martinez came off his worst outing of the winter season with his best and probably last performance for 2013-2014.

Pitching for Las Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Republic League round robin tournament, the 22-year-old threw a season-high seven shutout innings on four hits and a walk. He fanned five while lowering his winter ball ERA to 3.04. Unfortunately, the bullpen allowed two runs in the eighth as his club lost, 2-0.

In his prior appearance, a relief outing on January 9, Martinez struggled. The right-hander was charged with five runs, four earned, in five frames.

With Martinez scheduled to appear at the Cardinals Winter Warm-Up this weekend in St. Louis, Wednesday was likely his winter ball finale. With Las Aguilas sitting in last place in the tournament, their bid to represent the Dominican in the upcoming Caribbean Series is doomed, anyway.

In reality, it probably didn't matter, either way. At the time the Cardinals allowed Martinez to pitch, a club official informed me their approval was good until mid-January. Here we are.

Overall for Las Aguilas, Martinez pitched 23 2/3 innings over six outings. He struck out 26, issued just four free passes and yielded one home run. He will report to Cardinals spring training camp as a starter, but there seems no room for him in the major league rotation.

To read more about one possible 2014 scenario for Martinez, check out The Cardinal Nation blog: "How Motte could help Martinez become 2014's Wacha".

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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