Perhaps as a reflection of his recent hot bat, Kolten Wong is batting second today. When we meet with Mike Matheny this morning, I hope to ask him about it. (Update: Matheny gave general answers about what he wants from his number two hitter, the things you would expect to hear, but noted the assignment could change based on the opposing pitcher.)
Stephen Piscotty told me he has logged 4-5 innings in left field this spring so his assignment there is not entirely new. He is batting ninth. (Full lineups are on the daily game thread on The Cardinal Nation message board.)
The Cardinals will face Marlins ace Jose Fernandez again this spring on Thursday as the "away" team in Jupiter. Lance Lynn will start for St. Louis, followed by Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Tyler Lyons and Scott McGregor.
Owners in town
The Cardinals ownership group are in town for their annual spring meetings.
Asked if Carlos Martinez holding velocity later into games is important, Matheny agreed, but also noted that competitor Joe Kelly was throwing 96-97 in his final inning in his last start. The rotation is still set to run with six starters through the end of camp and Matheny said there is no change to that plan.
Matheny said he expects Mark Ellis to get back into games this weekend. The second baseman has been out with tendinitis in his right knee.
Aledmys Diaz update
The recently-signed infielder is not yet back from Mexico. I asked Matheny once Diaz is back how they will trade off getting him indoctrinated with the MLB club versus the value of receiving more repetition in minor league games. The manager did not acknowledge a difference. Personally, I can see the benefit of working with Jose Oquendo, but also in getting multiple at-bats on the back fields.
One of the two position players listed on the rehab list is Dominican Summer League catcher Sergio Ripoll. The 19-year-old Colombian suffered a shoulder injury that will keep him out for an extended period. The Cardinals brought him to Jupiter to rehab it.
Hard-throwing right-hander Fernando Baez was listed among the rehabbers on the recent spring working rosters. Earlier, The Cardinal Nation's 39th-ranked prospect for 2014 experienced some elbow soreness. After getting checked out, no damage was found and Baez is again throwing, though not yet cleared for game action.
Minor league starting lineups for Wednesday
Four clubs will play the Marlins on their side of the complex at 1 PM. Peoria 2 is not playing today.
At this point, I have only one starting lineup, but the entire pitching schedule follows. I will add other lineups during the day if/as I get them.
|Palm Beach||Peoria||Peoria 2|
Velocities from some of Wednesday's pitchers will be posted after the games.
|S Garcia||89-91||Has a whip action motion|
|Mayers||92-93||CB 78-79||Topped at 94|
|Cuda||85-87||Not tall, but solidly built|
|De Leon||90-91||78-79||Topped at 93|
|Aldrete||89-90||Split 88||Six-pitch inning|
|Barraclough||91-93||Slider 81-82||Threw 97 before injury|
|Paredes||90-91||Slider 76||Tall and thin|
|Tuivailala||94-96||CB 77-78||23-pitch inning|
|A Lucas||89||C/up 76|
|Stock||90-91||Extra 10th inning P for Palm Beach|
|T Lee||85-86||C/up 82-83|
My miscellaneous musings
I will add my in-game comments from the back fields later this afternoon.
Though the Marlins' quad was available, they chose to play the Triple-A game at the lone field closest to the clubhouse. That was some distance away from where the other three games were held. As a result, I watched the very start and very end of Memphis' game, but spent the majority of my time with Springfield, Palm Beach and Peoria.
Not to worry, however. I have your daily Oscar fix. In three at-bats, the right-fielder singled, struck out and was retired 3-1 before being replaced by Mike O'Neill. Taveras was running better – at least in his first at-bat.
This was the Cardinals minor league coaches' first game of the spring with their real teams. Until now, Memphis skipper Pop Warner had been assisting the big league club, so the others managed up a level. Warner may not have been happy with his starter, however.
The other highlight (or lowlight) of the Redbirds game was free agent signee Angel Castro being gashed for five earned runs in two innings. Zach Petrick followed and scattered five hits over three scoreless frames. He fanned three. Nick Greenwood, Justin Wright and Jose Almarante each added a run-free inning. Greenwood and Almarante each struck out two.
As this is the second or third outing for most of the pitchers, it is not surprising that they are experiencing some fatigue. The hitters are catching up a bit, say the coaches.
When playing the Marlins, it is always a pleasure to see long-time baseball man Jack McKeon still on the job.
A player who has caught my eye is shortstop Alex Mejia. He is very good sized for a shortstop and showed excellent pop when launching a double into the left field corner. A pitch earlier, the bat flew out of his hands all the way past the third base coach.
I saw an interesting at-bat from Breyvic Valera. He showed bunt on the first strike, swung away on the second, then with two strikes, attempted what was essentially a running bunt, moving way up in the box. He clearly came up to the plate with a plan.
Lefty Ryan Sherriff showed a good pickoff move to second base.
Outfielder C.J. McElroy's pinch-hitting experiment continues. Palm Beach's starting centerfielder took at least two at-bats from the port side. He saw a lot of pitches, but fanned once and grounded out on the infield in another.
As you may have noted above, Mike Aldrete and Sam Tuivailala had very different one-inning stints. The former threw "just" 89-90, but needed just six pitches to get three outs. Tui, on the other hand, was firing 94-96, but it took him a lot of work – 23 pitches – to finish his frame.
With Tyler Lyons being optioned out to Memphis to stretch out as a starter, he could be pitching on the back fields on Thursday. He had previously been on the available list for St. Louis for Thursday, but since he threw on Monday for St. Louis, he may not go again until the weekend.
Working rosters for all five groupings were posted in a separate article Tuesday morning.
Remember to check The Cardinal Nation Blog in the evenings for the day's minor league stats and notes.
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