Jordan Schafer (Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports Images)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of March 13-19, 2017.

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes a 3-3 record in spring training games, injury updates, World Baseball Classic results, roster cuts and more.

Spring Training game recaps

Monday, March 13 - Cardinals 6, Astros 3

A four-run sixth inning led the Cardinals to a victory over the visiting Astros.   Jedd Gyorko put St. Louis on the board in the second inning with a two-run bomb to right center field.  The Astros tied it up in the third and then took a one run lead in the top of the sixth.  In the bottom of the sixth, a Jhonny Peralta RBI double tied the game, then Stephen Piscotty followed with another RBI double to make it a one run Cardinal lead.  Jose Martinez plated two on a single to center to give the Redbirds their final winning margin.

Starter Michael Wacha pitched five innings, allowing two runs on three hits while fanning four. Jonathan Broxton surrendered the tying run in the sixth.  Mitch Harris, Austin Gomber, and Miguel Socolovich followed with a scoreless inning each.

 

Tuesday, March 14 - Off day

 

Wednesday, March 15 - Cardinals 0 at Twins 8

The Redbirds were outpitched and outslugged by the Twins in Fort Myers. Starter Mike Leake gave up three runs on four hits in four innings pitched.  Arturo Reyes pitched the fifth inning and surrendered an additional run.  Mike Mayers tossed a scoreless sixth, but the wheels came off the bus for Rowan Wick in the seventh, as he allowed four runs while getting only one Twins batter out.  Wick was replaced by Ryan Sherriff, who pitched the remaining 1 2/3 innings in scoreless fashion.

The Cardinals managed only five hits, all singles by Eric Fryer, Kolten Wong, Greg Garcia, Tommy Pham, and Harrison Bader.

 

Thursday, March 16 - Cardinals 2, Twins 1

The Twins visited Jupiter to take on the Cardinals after soundly defeating them in Fort Myers.  The second time, the outcome was different, a close 2-1 victory by the Cardinals. A Jedd Gyorko solo home run in the fourth inning gave the Cards the 1-0 lead.  After the Twins tied it up in the sixth, a Randal Grichuk RBI single in the ninth brought home the winning run.

Trevor Rosenthal made his first start of the spring, pitching two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out two.  Josh Lucas added a scoreless third.  Seung-Hwan Oh, just returned to camp from the World Baseball Classic, pitched the fourth, followed by Kevin Siegrist, John Gant, Sam Tuivailala, and Matt Bowman.  Gant gave up the only run by Cardinals pitching.

 

Friday, March 17 - Cardinals 2 at Mets 16

The Cardinals traveled to Port St. Lucie, where they were routed by the hometown Mets.  Adam Wainwright had his worst start of the spring, as he gave up ten runs on seven hits in only 1 2/3 innings worked.  Wainwright was replaced by Luke Weaver, who proceeded to surrender four more runs in 1 1/3 innings pitched.  Jonathan Broxton followed with a scoreless inning.  Miguel Socolovich allowed an additional run, as did Zach Phillips.  Ryan Sherriff pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Cardinals managed just two runs on seven hits.  An Eric Fryer RBI single in the second inning plated the first.  The Cardinals scored again in the seventh on a sac fly by new Cuban signee Adolis Garcia.

 

Saturday, March 18 - Cardinals 4, Mets 5

The Cardinals faced the Mets again, this time in Jupiter, and the defeat was at least a close one.  St. Louis scored on a Randal Grichuk single in the first inning that plated Greg Garcia.  The Cardinals didn’t get on the board again until the sixth, when a Harrison Bader RBI single brought Todd Cunningham home. A third run scored on a wild pitch in the eighth, and then a sac fly by Patrick Wisdom tied the game at four.  The Mets came back in the ninth and scored the winning run.

Michael Wacha surrendered three runs on five hits in four innings pitched.  Jonathan Broxton followed with a scoreless fifth.  Arturo Reyes surrendered a run in his two innings pitched, and Mike Mayers allowed the winning run in his final two innings.

 

Sunday, March 19 - Cardinals 5 at Braves 2

The Cardinals were victorious in Orlando against the Braves, with Lance Lynn on the mound.  Lynn pitched five strong scoreless innings, allowing four hits, while fanning three and walking one.  Lynn was followed by Tyler Lyons, in his first appearance of the spring.  Lyons surrendered two runs on two hits in his one inning of work.  Seung-Hwan Oh pitched a scoreless seventh.  Kevin Siegrist and Matt Bowman each added a run-free inning.

The Cardinals scored first in the second inning, on an RBI double by Tommy Pham, and an RBI single by Eric Fryer.  In the third, Jedd Gyorko doubled in a run, and in the fourth, Matt Adams’ solo home run plated the fourth.  The fifth and final Redbirds score came home on a sac fly by Paul DeJong in the seventh.

 

The big picture

Overall on the spring, the Cardinals are 13-7-3. Their runs scored total of 114 has dropped them from seventh in MLB last week to 18th. The team ERA of 3.89 is up from 3.16 last week, but is still fourth-best of all 30 teams. Their fielding percentage of .980 places them seventh in MLB.

 

Cardinals rotation set

A decision regarding the rotation for the 2017 season was made official on Sunday, as it was announced that Michael Wacha will join Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and Mike Leake.  The order has not yet been decided, nor has the starter for Opening Day been announced.

http://www.scout.com/player/158182-michael-wacha?s=321

Wacha was a question mark as part of the rotation given his past injury history, and the ascension of No. 1 prospect Alex Reyes to the big leagues in the second half of last season.  The decision was made easier with the elbow injury to Reyes and his subsequent Tommy John surgery, which takes him out of the equation for the 2017 season. Wacha was the natural choice for that spot considering his past stature as part of the rotation, as well as his current strong performance during the spring.

Wacha’s past shoulder issues continue to be a concern, and may affect his ability to pitch a full season effectively. Wacha threw only 138 innings in 2016.  Other options for the rotation - should Wacha’s shoulder become an issue - include Luke Weaver and Marco Gonzales, who will both start the season in Triple-AAA, as well as Trevor Rosenthal, whose efforts to compete for a spot in the rotation were disrupted by a lat injury that kept him off the mound for more than a week.

 

Team open to Molina extension talks

Yadier Molina’s brother Bengie took to the airwaves to express displeasure with the lack of talks regarding an extension for his brother, the long-time Cardinals catcher. Molina, who turns 35 in July, is on the final guaranteed year of his contract, with a mutual option for 2018.  Molina has expressed a desire in the recent past to retire a Cardinal, and extension possibilities have been mentioned by both sides. 

http://www.scout.com/player/67461-yadier-molina?s=321

Bengie Molina told MLB Network Radio that his brother wants to play 3 or 4 more seasons, and would like to do so with the Cardinals.  Bengie expressed frustration that the team has not begun talks to make this happen.  Molina stated his brother is not afraid to walk away, and “doesn’t take crap from anybody”.

Cardinals GM John Mozeliak responded to Bengie Molina’s outburst by saying that the Cardinals are “open for business” as far as possible extension talks with their catcher are concerned.  Mozeliak sees no issue with any extension talks in season, and the lack of an agreement at this stage is not a concern. Mozeliak said the Cardinals are “not a deadline organization” and that he is not drawing any lines in the sand as far as timing.

Waiting in the wings is the Cardinals No. 2 prospect, catcher Carson Kelly, whose closeness to the big leagues may be complicating matters with regard to a Molina extension.  Kelly is likely to start the season at Triple-AAA, but his ascension to the big leagues is close enough that 3 to 4 years of waiting will not be optimal for him or for the Cardinals.

 

Molina last Cardinal in WBC

The World Baseball Classic is in the home stretch.  The second round came to an end on Saturday, as Puerto Rico eliminated Venezuela, and the USA eliminated the Dominican Republic in victories on Saturday night.  Puerto Rico and the USA move on to the championship round beginning with semi-final games on Monday and Tuesday, and wrapping up with the championship game on Wednesday.  Yadier Molina leads Puerto Rico in a semi-final game against the Netherlands, with the USA taking on Japan in the second semi-final game.

Information about the tournament, including the schedule and pools, can be found at www.worldbaseballclassic.com.

 

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

 

Transactions

OF Anthony Garcia, LHP Marco Gonzales, and RHPs Luke Weaver and Rowan Wick were optioned to the Memphis Redbirds and will report to minor league camp.

IFs Edmundo Sosa and Eliezer Alvarez, and OF Magneuris Sierra were optioned to the Palm Beach Cardinals and will report to minor league camp. Right-handed pitcher Josh Lucas and left-handed pitcher Zach Phillips have also been reassigned to minor league camp.

 

Injury Report

Pitcher and outfielder Jordan Schafer, who was removed from a game last week with an elbow injury, had his UCL ligament repaired, thus avoiding Tommy John surgery.   Schafer’s recovery time is estimated at seven months, which will encompass most, if not all, of the 2017 season.

http://www.scout.com/player/86073-jordan-schafer?s=321

LHP Tyler Lyons (right knee surgery) pitched one inning in Sunday’s game against the Braves.  Lyons, who is ahead of schedule with regard to his rehab, is nevertheless not expected to be ready for the season opener on April 2.

 

Looking Ahead

The fourth week of spring games begins on Monday with a contest against the Astros in West Palm Beach with a rare evening time.  Mike Leake is scheduled to make this start.  The Cardinals will have an off day on Tuesday, then play the Nationals at home on Wednesday.  The Cardinals will be the home team in Jupiter on Thursday against the Marlins.  On Friday, the Cardinals make the short trip to West Palm Beach to play the Nationals again.  On Saturday, the Cardinals are the visitors in Jupiter against the Marlins and the home team against the Marlins on Sunday.

The full Spring Training schedule can be found here.  The updated spring game broadcasting schedule can be found here, at the TCN blog.

Opening Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 2.  The Cardinals play the Cubs at 7:30 pm on Sunday night, a game that will be televised on ESPN.  The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

 

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