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A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of March 14-20, 2016

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of March 14-20, 2016.

Grapefruit League recaps

The following are recaps for games played during the third week of Spring Training.

Monday March 14--Cardinals 3, Twins 5

Mike Leake was the Cardinals starter.  He pitched four innings, striking out six, giving up no runs and only one hit.  Leake was succeeded on the mound by Seth Maness, Seung-hwan Oh, Austin Gomber, Dean Kiekhefer, Jeremy Hefner and Josh Lucas.  Gomber took the loss.

Matt Holliday was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI.  Anthony Garcia doubled in four at bats and Matt Carpenter went 1-for-3 with a double.

Tuesday, March 15----Off day

Wednesday, March 16--Cardinals 8, Braves 8

Starter Jaime Garcia had a little bit of a rough outing, giving up four runs in four innings pitched.  Relief was handled by Jonathan Broxton, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Matt Bowman and Sam Tuivailala.

Offense for the Cardinals was provided by Stephen Piscotty, 2-for-3 with a run scored, Randal Grichuk, also 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, Jedd Gyroko, who was 2-for-3, Jonathan Rodriguez, who was 2-for-2 with a double, and a ninth inning home run off the bat of Carlos Peguero, which tied the score.

Thursday, March 17---Cardinals 4, Tigers 5

Carlos Martinez took the mound for the Cardinals and gave up two runs on four hits, including a home run, in 2 2/3 innings pitched.  Seung-hwan Oh, Miguel Socolovich, Seth Maness, Marco Gonzales, and Juan Gonzalez followed Martinez.

The highlight on offense was a three run home run by pinch hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker.    Matt Holliday was 2-for-3 and Patrick Wisdom had the only extra base hit, a double.

Friday, March 18---Cardinals 0, Tigers 2

This was the third start of the spring for Adam Wainwright.  He was the losing pitcher, going 4 2/3 innings while giving up two runs on six hits.  Tyler Lyons, Jonathan Broxton, Jordan Walden and Jeremy Hefner followed Wainwright on the mound.

The Cardinals were shut down offensively.  The only hits were provided by Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Kolten Wong, who had the only extra base hit, a double.

Saturday, March 19---Cardinals 1, Red Sox 3 (5 innings).

This was a rain shortened game that was started by Michael Wacha, who took the loss.  Wacha pitched four innings and gave up all three Red Sox runs.  Matt Bowman relieved.

The Cardinals’ only run was via a fourth inning home run from Carlos Peguero.

Sunday, March 20 ---Cardinals 2, Marlins 5

This was also Mike Leake’s third Grapefruit League start.  Leake tossed five innings, surrendering one run on five hits while striking out four.  Relief was provided by Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Sam Tuivailala and Dean Kiekhefer.  Siegrist took the loss.

Matt Carpenter hit his first home run of the spring, a solo shot in his first at bat.  Carpenter also doubled in the third inning.  Greg Garcia went 3-for-3, and new acquisition Ruben Tejada was 1-for-4.  Jonathan Rodriguez, Eric Fryer and Carlos Peguero each had a hit.

Cardinals sign free agent Ruben Tejada

On Saturday morning March 19, the Cardinals announced the signing of ex-Met and free agent Ruben Tejada to a one year contract worth 1.5 million dollars.  Tejada, who joined the Mets as an amateur free agent in 2006, played three seasons at shortstop before being placed on waivers and then released by the Mets on March 16.  Tejada has a career slash line of .255/.330/.323 and is considered to be an average defender at the shortstop position.

The 26 year-old Panama native was acquired as an option to replace the injured Jhonny Peralta, who will miss two to three months after surgery to repair a torn left thumb ligament.  The Cardinals have not yet stated that Tejada will be the starting shortstop, but the optioning of shortstop prospect Aledmys Diaz to Triple-A Memphis on Sunday signals Diaz is no longer in the mix for the 25-man roster.  Jedd Gyorko is still being considered for the job, but infielder Greg Garcia is not under consideration for the shortstop starter role but has a chance to make the team as a utility infielder.

Cardinals make Spring Training roster cuts

On Sunday, March 20, the Cardinals announced that nine players have been cut from the Spring Training roster, reducing the total to 41 players.

On Sunday morning. Infielders Aledmys Diaz and Dean Anna were optioned to Triple-A Memphis, while pitchers Deck McGuire, Jeremy Hefner, Austin Gomber and catcher Carson Kelly were assigned to minor league camp.  After the game on Sunday, three more players, Anthony Garcia, Jonathan Rodriguez and Patrick Wisdom, were cut.

Diaz is expected to be the starting shortstop for Memphis to begin the 2016 season.  Diaz was under consideration as an option to replace the injured Jhonny Peralta, but the acquisition of Ruben Tejada changes the situation.  Diaz has only played 14 games above the Triple-A level and it is believed every day at bats at Memphis is the best thing for his development.

Former Cardinals minor league pitcher alleges homophobic comments

A former pitcher in the Cardinals minor league system told Outsports.com that he quit baseball after the 2014 season due to homophobic comments made by teammates in both college and as a professional that made him uncomfortable in the clubhouse.

Tyler Dunnington, the 28th round draft choice by the Cardinals in 2014, pitched in 19 games with the Cardinals’ GCL and State College clubs that summer.  The right hander, who is gay, had not come out to his coaches and teammates while playing in the Cardinals system.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has stated that he is taking Dunnington’s comments “very seriously” and is working with Billy Bean, MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion, to look into the allegations.

News and Notes from Spring Training

Back-up catcher Brayan Pena has been nursing a sore right forearm and was held out of the lineup for several days.  Pena was back in the lineup on Saturday, March 19 and manager Mike Matheny says the injury is nothing serious.

The Cardinals are nearing a decision on what role Marco Gonzales will have to begin 2016.  Either Gonzales will be sent to Memphis to stretch out to prepare for a possible starter role should the need arise, or he will be under consideration to provide some work in the bullpen for the Cardinals.

Yadier Molina took his first swings in a Grapefruit League game on Friday, March 18.  Molina had previously made starts at catcher without making a plate appearance, and then began to make plate appearance without swinging the bat.  Molina is on pace to be ready for full duty on Opening Day.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

Cardinals signed free agent SS Ruben Tejada.

Cardinals optioned Dean Anna and Aledmys Diaz to Memphis Redbirds.

Cardinals optioned Anthony Garcia to Memphis Redbirds.

Injury Report

Brayan Pena (right forearm tightness) was kept out of the lineup for a week, but was in the lineup on Saturday, March 19.

Yadier Molina (left thumb ligament) has begun swinging the bat in spring games.

Looking Ahead

The fourth week of Grapefruit League play begins on Monday, March 21 with a game against the Red Sox in Jupiter. Marco Gonzales is scheduled to make the Monday start.   The Cardinals have an off day on Tuesday the 22nd and finish the week with games against the Marlins and Nationals, and one game against the Mets.  Carlos Martinez will make the Wednesday start against the Marlins.

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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