Wong receives contract extension
On Wednesday, March 2, the Cardinals announced an agreement with second baseman Kolten Wong on a contract extension. The contract is reported to be for five years, with a club option for the 2021 season. The financial terms are $25.5 million over the five years, that breaks down as follows: 2016-$1.25 million; 2017-$2.5 million; 2018-$4 million; 2019-$6.5 million; 2020-$10.25 million; 2021 club option- $12.5 million or a $1 million buyout. The total value of the contract with the club option is $37 million.
Wong begins his third full season as the Cardinals’ second baseman, posting a slash line of .250/.303/.374, with 23 home runs and 103 RBI over his major league career. Wong finished third in the 2014 Rookie of the Year vote, and has the distinction of holding the Cardinals single season postseason record for total bases by a second baseman.
The 25 year-old was the first round draft choice of the Cardinals in 2011 and moved quickly through the minor league system to debut with the Cardinals in 2013. Wong has essentially cemented a place on the Cardinals roster at second base, a position of high turnover for the Cardinals in the last several decades. The last second baseman to have more than a three-year career with the Cardinals was Tommy Herr, who was the starting second baseman for the Cardinals for seven seasons from 1981-1987 before he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in 1988.
Minor leaguer Doyle suspended
On Friday, March 4, MLB announced that Cardinals’ minor leaguer Luke Doyle has been suspended for 50 games pursuant to the MLB Joint Drug Agreement for testing positive for an amphetamine.
The 20 year-old is the second Cardinals’ minor leaguer suspended since the end of the 2015 season. Pitching prospect Alex Reyes was sat down for a second positive test for marijuana in November of 2015.
Doyle was the Cardinals’ 20th-round pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft who went on to play in 44 games with the Appalachian League team in Johnson City.
Grapefruit League play begins
The Cardinals began Grapefruit League play for 2015 on Thursday, March 3 against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. A brief summary of the four official games played so far follows.
Cardinals starter Tyler Lyons was followed by Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Jeremy Hefner, Jayson Aquino, and Dean Kiekhefer. Hefner blew the save, but was awarded the win, Kiekhefer got the save.
Offensive highlights included a triple by Tommy Pham, an RBI double by Carlos Peguero, a double by Brandon Moss, and an RBI single from Stephen Piscotty.
Starter Jaime Garcia pitched two innings. Seth Maness, Luke Weaver, Jordan Walden, Sam Tuivailala, and Juan Gonzalez followed.
On the offensive side, an RBI double off the bat of Anthony Garcia was the highlight. Jacob Wilson and Carson Kelly each plated a run on a single.
Marco Gonzales made the start. After he was removed in the third inning, the game was finished by Seung-hwan Oh, J.C. Sulbaran, Austin Gomber, Trey Nielsen, and Miguel Socolovich. Nielsen earned the win with Socolovich getting the save.
Anthony Garcia again provided the offensive highlight with a second RBI double that plated two. Michael Ohlman drove in a run on a single.
New Cardinals minor league acquisition Deck McGuire started, pitched two innings and took the loss. Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Broxton, Kevin Siegrist, Daniel Poncedeleon, Corey Littrell, and Arturo Reyes followed.
Randal Grichuk was the hitting standout, going 2-for-3 with a double and a single. Driving in runs were Brandon Moss with a double, and 2015 draft pick Nick Plummer on a ground out. Carlos Peguero and David Washington also doubled.
The Cardinals opened the spring training season with a 13-6 exhibition game win over Florida Atlantic University on Wednesday, March 2. Jacob Wilson and Patrick Wisdom homered. The box score can be found here.
News and Notes from Spring Training
Yadier Molina caught his first bullpen since offseason thumb surgery on Monday, Feb. 29. Molina caught about 20 pitches behind the plate for Adam Wainwright.
The Spring Training debut of Rule 5 draft pick Matt Bowman has been delayed due to his right eye having been struck by a baseball on Wednesday, March 2. Bowman woke up with blurred vision on Thursday and was went to an eye specialist for evaluation.
The Cardinals have introduced Pilates into the player’s workouts. The idea was brought to GM John Mozeliak by manager Mike Matheny, and Mozeliak agreed to try Pilates classes this spring as a test case. The players have responded well to the new workout regimen and the Cardinals plan to have Pilates sessions available during the regular season.
Matt Holliday was scheduled to make his spring debut, in of all places, first base, in the Cardinals game against the Marlins on Saturday. Holliday was a late scratch, however, because of lower back tightness. Holliday is expected to make the start at first base in the game on Monday, March 7.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
None to report.
RHP Matt Bowman is day to day with injury to his right eye.
Matt Holliday was a late scratch on Saturday, March 5 due to lower back tightness.
Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) is expected to make first Spring Training start soon.
Yadier Molina (left thumb ligament) is expected to begin swinging a bat in the coming week, and perhaps appear in a game as a catcher only.
Tim Cooney (left shoulder soreness) has begun playing catch but is not expected to pitch in a game soon.
The second week of Grapefruit League play begins on Monday, with Adam Wainwright making his first scheduled start. Michael Wacha, Mike Leake, and Carlos Martinez are also expected to start games in the coming week. Yadier Molina may make a catching appearance this coming week.
Grapefruit League play continues until March 31. The full Spring Training Schedule can be found here. A list of all television broadcasts, Cards and opponents, can be viewed here. Full spring training uniform numbers explained here.
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