The Cardinals Spring Training Notebook

Any concerns you had about the return of Chris Carpenter should have been eliminated on Wednesday, as Carp turned in his second straight dominant Grapefruit League start, tossing six scoreless frames, to extend his spring scoreless streak to 14 innings through his first four games.

On the day, Carpenter threw 64 pitches, 38 for strikes, as scattered three hits and a walk with two strikeouts, as the Cardinals beat the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2, in the home half of the split-squad doubleheader with the road split-squad game against the Orioles in Fort Lauderdale, being cancelled because of rain.

Closer competitor Josh Kinney picked up his second save this spring, despite giving up his first run and first hits of the spring in the ninth, before closing out the game for the save. Kinney is 1-0 with 2 saves and an ERA of 1.50 this spring and could end up being the team's closer by the time the regular season starts.

The Cardinals were outhit by the Orioles Wednesday, 7-6, but managed to put three runs on the board, with Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick both driving in a run.

NOTES AND QUOTES: Puerto Rico's sudden elimination from the World Baseball Classic Tuesday allowed Yadier Molina to return to camp and start in Wednesday's game at Roger Dean Stadium. Molina went 1-for-3 in his first game back from the WBC.

According to a report in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, reliever Chris Perez will be sideline for the next several days because of persistent shoulder discomfort.

According to a report by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Derrick Goold, St. Louis Cardinals lefty reliever Dennys Reyes, who was playing for team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic will not report to the Cardinals spring training facility until Sunday. Team Mexico was eliminated on Monday and according to a report the lefty received permission to report late.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Save opportunities. Can you determine who may have the edge in the closer's race based on spring training opportunities? Josh Kinney and Jason Motte have converted both of their save opportunities and both have an ERA of 1.50 through their first six innings on the mound. Motte also worked the scoreless ninth inning of an exhibition against the Dominican Republic and picked up the save, that didn't go unnoticed by the organization and pitching coach Dave Duncan. I'd say Motte has to have a very slight edge over even Josh Kinney at this point. Chris Perez, Kyle McClellan, and Fernando Salas, have each had a save opportunity, with only Perez converting his to a save, but his 5.40 ERA and continued shoulder discomfort puts his chances at the big prize in jeopardy.

COLBY RASMUS WATCH: Colby went 0-for-2 on the day, striking out once, as his spring batting average falls to .234. Colby Rasmus is expected to make the opening day roster and see time in left field, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Strauss expects Rasmus to play about four days per week, with Chris Duncan and others fighting for the remaining playing time. One has to ask based on his lackluster performance last season at Triple-A Memphis and his typical slow start this spring, has Rasmus really earned a spot on the Cardinals 25-man roster?

COMING UP: The Cardinals will play on the road at Port Charlotte, Fla., on Thursday to face the defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays at 12:05 p.m. CT. Joel Pineiro will be on the mound for the Cardinals, making his fourth start this spring.

 

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