Next up for Adam Wainwright is opening night in Chicago. The right-hander proved he is ready to go by pitching into the seventh inning in St. Louis' 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
Wainwright allowed two runs and eight hits while throwing 93 pitches in 6 2-3 innings. The ace was slowed by an abdominal injury early in spring training, raising questions about whether he would be ready to pitch in that first game against the Cubs.
''We know what he does on the big stage and how he rises to the occasion for big opportunities - and opening day is a big opportunity,'' Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
The majors' first game of the regular season will be Wainwright's third consecutive opening start and No. 4 overall.
''It's just really a validation for the work that you put in,'' he said. ''The years that I've been here and saw (Chris Carpenter) do it and see the number of times that Bob Gibson did that, each time I get to do it is just a very special thing. It's an assignment that they don't hand out lightly.''
Wainwright allowed the leadoff batter to reach in each of the first five innings against Miami. But he also induced four double-play grounders.
Ichiro Suzuki went 2 for 2 and drove in a run for Miami. He also made a sliding catch in center field.
Henderson Alvarez, who will start on opening day for the Marlins, allowed one run and six hits in six innings.
Cardinals: Newly named fifth starter Carlos Martinez will make his final start of the spring when St. Louis takes on the Mets on Wednesday. John Lackey will pitch in a minor league game at the Cardinals' spring complex.
Marlins: Alvarez struck out one and walked two while throwing 55 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
Cardinals: OF Randal Grichuk was sent home before the game because of an illness.
Marlins: Reliever Aaron Crow is experiencing elbow soreness and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. If healthy, Crow is expected to break camp as a member of the Marlins' bullpen.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
The addition of Kozma and Grichuk also means that when the Cardinals employ their expected opening-day lineup all five bench players will be right-handed bats. Catcher Tony Cruz, first baseman Mark Reynolds and Bourjos round out the bench.
Miami announced that outfielder Don Kelly and infielder Donovan Solano had made their opening-day roster. The Marlins reassigned Reid Brignac, Tyler Colvin and Cole Gillespie to minor league camp and released Nick Masset.
Marlins: Jarred Cosart gets the ball when the Nationals come to Roger Dean Stadium on Wednesday. Cosart was scratched from his last start because of a blister on his middle finger.
Cardinals: St. Louis travels to Port St. Lucie to face the Mets.
Link to box score: Miami 3 “at” St. Louis (12-11-2) 2