The Cardinals Spring Training Notebook

Only the Houston Astros with nine home runs, have hit fewer homers in the National League than the Cardinals this spring, but it was a power surge by St. Louis led by home runs by Ryan Ludwick & Rick Ankiel that propelled the Cardinals past the American League Champions Tampa Bay Rays, 9-7, in Grapefruit League Action Thursday.

Rick Ankiel went 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, as Ryan Ludwick who entered the game hitting just .150 with no home runs, added a three run shot to lead the Redbirds offense. Second baseman Brendan Ryan batting in the leadoff spot went 2-for-6 on the day, with two runs scored and an RBI.

Cardinals' starter Joel Pineiro got the win after going four innings and giving up two runs on six hits. Closer candidate Jason Motte notched the save, his team leading third save, after recording the final four outs. Motte allowed just one earned run in 12 outings for the Cardinals (11.0 IP, 0.82 ERA) in September, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that he has continued to be effective this spring.

Reliever Ryan Franklin, who led the Cardinals with 17 saves last season, gave up three runs in his one inning on the mound, and will likely return to his role as a setup man when the regular season begins, as Motte, with his dominating performances this spring, will likely begin the year as the team's closer.

NOTES AND QUOTES: According to a report in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, "Reliever Chris Perez will attempt long toss Friday as a possible prelude to a weekend game appearance. Perez remained in Jupiter Thursday to accept treatment on his throwing shoulder, which has been a nuisance for some time."

My take today is, Perez likely start the season on the DL and will begin pitching at Triple-A Memphis before returning to St. Louis.

COLBY RASMUS WATCH: Rasmus entered the game as a pinch runner and scored a run, while striking out in his only plate appearance. The Cardinals seem intent to add Rasmus to the team's 25-man roster after spring training, something that seems somewhat perplexing, considering Rasmus played much better last spring, with the promise of a potential spot on the roster, before finally being cut.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: In Grapefruit League action in 2008, the Cardinals top prospect, Colby Rasmus played in a team high 18 games, hitting .273 with two home runs and four RBIs and seven runs scored.

20 – The Cardinals hit 20 home runs in spring training of 2008, compared to 12 home runs this spring. In the National League only the Houston Astros with nine home runs, have hit fewer homers than the Cardinals.


The Cardinals will host the Phillies on Friday afternoon in a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Roger Dean Stadium. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals and will be opposed by Carlos Carrasco.


© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


The Cardinal Nation Top Stories