Grapefruit League recaps
The following are recaps for games played during the second week of Spring Training. Through 12 games, the Cardinals are 7-4 with one tie.
Adam Wainwright made his first Grapefruit League start and pitched two scoreless innings. He was followed by Seth Maness, Jordan Walden, Tyler Lyons, Jeremy Hefner, Jayson Aquino and Dean Kiekhefer. Walden earned the win.
The offense was headlined by Stephen Piscotty, who went 2-for-2 with two RBI, Jedd Gyorko, who was 2-for-3 with two driven in, and Jonathan Rodriguez, who also went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
Michael Wacha took the start for the Cardinals, pitching two innings and giving up one run on two hits. Finishing were Seung-hwan Oh, Luke Weaver, Sam Tuivailala, J.C. Sulbaran, Trey Nielsen and Juan Gonzalez. Weaver had the win, Gonzalez, the save.
Anthony Garcia had the offensive highlight, a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Aledmys Diaz was the star of the game, however, going 4-for-4 with two RBI.
Mike Leake made his Cardinals Grapefruit League debut, pitching two scoreless innings. Marco Gonzales, Matt Bowman, Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Broxton, Kevin Siegrist and Corey Littrell followed Leake. Gonzales took the loss.
A two run home run off the bat of Patrick Wisdom and an RBI single by Tommy Pham were responsible for the Cardinals’ three runs. Brandon Moss was 2-for-3.
In Jaime Garcia’s second start of the spring, the lefty went 3 2/3 scoreless innings. Mitch Harris followed, giving up two runs, then Jordan Walden, Austin Gomber, Dean Kiekhefer, and Miguel Socolovich followed. Gomber, the losing pitcher, surrendered four Mets runs and Socolovich, one.
The Cardinals’ only runs were supplied by a two-run home run from Matt Adams.
This game marked Carlos Martinez’ first start of the spring. Martinez gave up one run in two innings pitched, in his first start since his shoulder injury in September 2015. Martinez was succeeded by Seung-hwan Oh, Deck McGuire, Jeremy Hefner, Jayson Aquino, and Sam Tuivialala. Aquino was tagged with a blown save but also was given the win. Tuivailala got the save.
Runs were provided off the bats of Jacob Wilson, Matt Adams, and Magneuris Sierra, the latter over from minor league camp. Sierra was 2-for-4 and added a stolen base and an outfield assist.
This was the second start for Adam Wainwright, who went four innings and gave up two runs on four hits, including a home run. He was followed by Juan Gonzalez, Trevor Rosenthal, Jonathan Broxton, Kevin Siegrist, and Daniel Poncedeleon. Poncedeleon got the win.
A ninth-inning solo home run from Tommy Pham, who went 2-for-3, was the offensive highlight. RBI were also provided by Aledmys Diaz and Luke Voit, both on doubles.
Tyler Lyons made the start, and pitched two innings, yielding four runs on five hits. Matt Bowman followed, as did Tim Cooney, Junior Fernandez, J.C. Sulbaran, and Miguel Socolovich. Bowman got the save.
The offensive explosion was led by four long balls, one each by Brandon Moss, Carson Kelly, Randal Grichuk, and Jacob Wilson. Grichuk’s home run yielded three runs. Also providing RBI were Nick Plummer, Brayan Pena, and Anthony Garcia, who tripled.
Michael Wacha got the start, going two innings and charged with three runs on six hits. Jordan Walden, Marco Gonzales, Jack Flaherty and Sandy Alcantara followed.
RBI were provided by Carson Kelly, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Paul DeJong. Hazelbaker was 2-for-4. Kelly provided the only extra base hit, a double.
Peralta has thumb surgery
Cardinals’ shortstop Jhonny Peralta had surgery on his left thumb in St. Louis on Thursday, March 10. The procedure was to repair a torn ligament that suffered on a defensive play in the game on Saturday, March 5 against the Marlins.
Peralta is expected to be out of commission for 10-12 weeks. He will return to camp within a few days.
To replace Peralta’s innings at shortstop and in the starting lineup, the Cardinals are auditioning Jedd Gyorko, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia. How any or all of these players perform will determine whether the team has an internal option to replace Peralta or will go outside the organization for help.
Gyorko is pretty much guaranteed a spot on the roster, as the primary infield utility player, whether that be at shortstop as a Peralta replacement, or as backup at second and third.
Diaz has played less than 20 games at the Triple-A level, and before the Peralta injury was a long shot to make the roster. That may change. Garcia is pretty much a known quantity, and may or may not make the roster as a bench player and back up option in the infield.
Former Cardinal Schumaker retires
Skip Schumaker, who played eight seasons with the Cardinals as an outfielder and second baseman, has decided to retire from baseball.
The 36 year-old had signed a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres, but decided to call it quits and let his manager, Andy Green, know of his decision by text message on Monday, March 7. After his trade to the Dodgers by the Cardinals in December of 2012, Schumaker played one season in Los Angeles before signing as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds, where he spent the last two seasons before moving to the Padres.
Schumaker has a career slash line of .278/.337/.364 in over 3500 plate appearances.
Cardinals Hall of Fame balloting begins
Balloting for the 2016 Cardinals Hall of Fame began on Friday, March 11 on Cardinals.com and will continue until April 20th.
The 2016 ballot includes eight players from the modern era, Chris Carpenter, Scott Rolen, Jason Isringhausen, Keith Hernandez, Edgar Renteria, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, and Joe Torre.
Also up for possible induction is one veteran player retired for more than 40 years, as well as a non-player who has contributed significantly to the organization. These possible inductees are not selected by fan vote.
The next induction ceremony, the third annual, will take place on Saturday, August 27. Details here.
Busch Stadium to host NHL Winter Classic
There will be hockey at Busch Stadium in 2017.
The NHL announced on Wednesday, March 9 that a Winter Classic game between the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks will be played at Busch Stadium on January 2, 2017. The game will be the Blues’ first outdoor game, and is occurring as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary.
This will be the first time St. Louis has hosted a Winter Classic.
News and Notes from Spring Training
Michael Wacha showed a new pitch he has been developing, a cutter, late in his spring debut on Tuesday, March 8 against the Twins. Wacha threw the pitch to Ryan Sweeney, and induced a ground out.
The Cardinals have shelved Stephen Piscotty as an option at first base. Piscotty worked on playing the position in the offseason, in case the Cardinals signed Jason Heyward to play right field. Now that Heyward moved on to Chicago, the Cardinals no longer see Piscotty as being needed there. The Cardinals have both Brandon Moss and Matt Adams to play first base, and Matt Holliday could possibly be in the first base mix as well.
The Cardinals debuted a new social media outlet during the Friday, March 11 game against the Braves. Players were permitted to bring smartphones to the dugout and bullpen to give fans a behind the scenes glimpse of spring life on Snapchat. Photos and videos were shared on Snapchat via the handle “Cardinals”.
On Sunday night, the Cards dropped from 59 to 50 players in MLB camp. Optioned to Memphis (AAA) was left-handed reliever Jayson Aquino and re-assigned to the minors were pitchers Corey Littrell, Trey Nielsen, Daniel Poncedeleon, J.C. Sulbaran and Luke Weaver and catchers Steve Bean, Luis Cruz and Alberto Rosario. Details here.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
Some media sources have speculated that the Cardinals might be interested in acquiring a shortstop such as Erick Aybar of Atlanta, Nick Ahmed of Arizona or Ruben Tejada of the Mets. However, the Cardinals’ public position is that they are evaluating in-house options mentioned above.
There are no transactions to report.
Piscotty was held out of the lineup on Sunday, March 13 after being hit on the left elbow by a pitch in Saturday’s game. The injury is not considered serious and sitting out was precautionary.
The third week of Grapefruit League play begins on Monday, March 14 with a game against the Twins in Jupiter. Mike Leake is scheduled to make the Monday start. The Cardinals have an off day on Tuesday, and finish the week against the Braves, Tigers, Red Sox and Marlins. Jaime Garcia will make the Wednesday start, followed by Carlos Martinez on Thursday.
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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