Feb 24, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) throws live batting practice during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training: Lance Lynn Bolsters Rotation Depth

The St. Louis Cardinals are on their way to Florida for Spring Training and the Grapefruit League. Follow this stream for updates until they break camp and head north. Click here for a full game and TV schedule.

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Adam Wainwright Set To Start Friday For St. Louis Cardinals

More than a year after the St. Louis Cardinals realized, early last spring training, that they’d be without their ace for 2011, Adam Wainwright is set to make his return to the rotation. He’ll start and take two innings Friday at 12:05 against the Minnesota Twins; it’ll be his first in-game action since his 20-win season of 2010.

A lot has happened since then: among other things, the Cardinals played a bunch of baseball games and then won the World Series. That makes Wainwright one of the Cardinals’ best chances to improve on last season—more than their free agent acquisitions, Wainwright is really the player who can push them past the loss of Albert Pujols.

Without him, last season, the Cardinals gave Kyle McClellan 17 starts, Edwin Jackson 12, Lance Lynn two, and—you’d be forgiven for this one, coming as it did when the Cardinals were Basically Eliminated from Playoff Contention Anyway—Brandon Dickson one, on September 1. I’ve got no problem with any of those pitchers, except Jackson when he attempts to see just how slowly it’s possible to pitch, but it’ll be good to have Adam Wainwright back.


St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox Tangle As Jaime Garcia Makes Spring Training Debut

The St. Louis Cardinals will meet the Boston Red Sox Thursday for their fourth Spring Training contest of the 2012 season—still looking for their first win at 0-2-1. Jaime Garcia will make his Grapefruit League debut, going—if the Cardinals' moves so far are any indication—two innings and out. The game, a 12:05 start, will be broadcast on KMOX.

In the three games so far, first baseman Matt Adams, set to make his AAA debut this year in Memphis, has been the player to watch. Subbing for an aching and otherwise veteran-with-a-guaranteed-contract-y Lance Berkman, Adams has gone 4-9 with one home run, a grand slam.

In the nascent competition to be Yadier Molina's backup catcher, Bryan Anderson is the only contestant to have made a dent: He's 2-3 with a double. Tony Cruz has been absent, while Koyie Hill is 0-4 with an error. (Steven Hill is 1-1 with an RBI, having proved he still exists with a pinch-hit single.)

For Cardinals updates all Spring Training long, like our 2012 Spring Training storystream on Facebook.


St. Louis Cardinals, Shelby Miller Tie Washington Nationals In Spring Training Contest

Shelby Miller allowed a run in two innings in his first Grapefruit League start and Daniel Descalso hit his first home run of spring training, but the St. Louis Cardinals were unable to hold down the Washington Nationals for their first win of the Grapefruit League season. Lance Lynn blew the save, allowing a home run that was compounded by a defensive miscue to produce a final score of 3-3.

Tyler Greene added an RBI single and, with Shelby Miller out of the game early, fellow super-prospect Tyrell Jenkins, just 19, threw a scoreless inning in his first spring appearance. The newly crowned relief pitcher of pitching prospects’ past paid a visit, too: Adam Ottavino, moved permanently to the bullpen after a checkered career in the rotation following his selection in the first round of the 2006 draft, struck out four batters in one inning thanks to a wild pitch. Marc Rzepczynski was also strong, striking out two in one inning of work.

Matt Adams, starring in the early going of spring training with Lance Berkman taking a veteran’s approach to the first games, went 2-5 with a strikeout. The Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox will meet in Jupiter on Thursday, for a 12:05 game that will be broadcast on KMOX.


Shelby Miller Starts St. Louis Cardinals' Spring Training Game Wednesday

Shelby Miller, the St. Louis Cardinals' top prospect—and one of the very best prospects in baseball—will make his first Grapefruit League start Wednesday, when they face the Washington Nationals in their third official contest of spring training. Miller's debut is one of two starts that Cardinals fans will be watching extra-closely; Adam Wainwright, who makes his return from elbow surgery on Friday, has the other. Both pitchers could be crucial to the Cardinals' postseason chances in 2012.

In 2011, after a professional debut in which the organization had him on a strict innings count, Miller was as dominant as pitching prospects get; in 25 starts between high-A Palm Beach and AA Springfield he struck out 170 batters and walked just 53 in 139.2 innings. The Cardinals will try their hardest to keep from bringing Miller up before they absolutely have to—for reasons both developmental and financial—but if he keeps striking out 11 batters per nine innings it's going to be difficult to avoid.

Meanwhile, on the Nationals, an even more dominant pitching prospect is working on his opposite-field stroke. Just in case you thought I was jinxing anybody.


Cardinals Spring Training Scores: St. Louis Drops Second Straight, Grapefruit League Championship In Doubt

The St. Louis Cardinals dropped their second straight game to open their spring training Grapefruit League schedule Tuesday, putting Mike Matheny’s career as manager of a team that looks a little like the Cardinals for a few innings in Jupiter, Florida, in doubt. Prospect Matt Adams paced the Cardinals with a grand slam and Mark Hamilton doubled in the losing effort, while a newly svelte Jake Westbrook struck out two and walked two in two scoreless innings. Adam Reifer took the loss.

The mothership has the box-score. Rule 5-er Erik Komatsu, who’ll need to beat Adron Chambers for the fifth outfielder job if he’s to stay in the Cardinals’ organization, doubled to keep himself in the running, while Maikel Cleto struggled in a relief role, walking three in a little less than two innings.

The Cardinals will take on the Washington Nationals Wednesday at noon central. Super-prospect Shelby Miller is set to make his first caeer Grapefruit League start; one can only imagine Mike Matheny has a lot riding on it.


St. Louis Cardinals Make 2012 TV Debut Vs. New York Mets

The St. Louis Cardinals will make their television debut Tuesday at noon when they take on a New York Mets split-squad team on MLB.tv and, eventually, MLB Network. Fans brave enough to tune into baseball at its spring training roughest will be rewarded with a chance to see Jake Westbrook and Maikel Cleto pitch, with Matt Holliday and David Freese in the lineup from the A-team.

Ryan Jackson, starting at shortstop, is the most interesting B-teamer to watch. Drafted in 2009 as an all-glove shortstop who wasn’t expected to hit enough to reach the majors, he’s maintained his otherworldly reputation on defense while proving adequate with the bat at all minor league stops through AA Springfield. 24 years old, he could factor into a playing-time split with the various second-base candidates should Rafael Furcal get hurt and remains the team’s only in-house option to replace Furcal after 2014, when his contract runs out.

Also, Shane Robinson will be leading off and playing center field, if you like that sort of thing. At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Derrick Goold has the full lineup.


St. Louis Cardinals' Grapefruit League Schedule Starts Monday, With Marlins

The St. Louis Cardinals and the Miami Marlins will meet Monday for the defending champions' Grapefruit League opener, beginning the Cardinals' life without Albert Pujols in, pleasantly enough, the kind of game where he'd only take one at-bat anyway. Carlos Beltran makes his debut as designated hitter and Kyle Lohse gets the coveted Grapefruit League opening day start.

The Cardinals' two primary Spring Training competitions—between Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, and Skip Schumaker at second base, and Bryan Anderson, Tony Cruz, and Koyie Hill at second catcher—will finally begin in earnest; it's also our first chance to see Mike Matheny manage, although I would remind anyone looking to extrapolate from his moves here that he won't normally bring Mark Hamilton in to pitch the ninth inning. Probably.

But mostly, it's our chance to listen to something that sounds like a baseball game and then peruse something that looks like a box score. It's been a long time, but baseball is finally not-really-but-kind-of-here. Get excited.


St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina Contract Angst Ends With Familiar Spring Training Ultimatum

The St. Louis Cardinals' Spring Training storylines will have to do without Yadier Molina's next contract, now that he's called off negotiations in-season.


Yadier Molina Not About To Offer St. Louis Cardinals Hometown Discount

In case you were still uncertain as to what Yadier Molina's position was about his future with the St. Louis Cardinals, Rick Hummel has made it impressively clear in an article in which he catches Molina about as candid as you're likely to hear a baseball player approaching free agency.

"I don't know about that. Like I say - I always say this - I like the town. I like the city. At the same time, I have to think about my family ... like they worry about their team. This is business. If I get good money, I'll take it. If not, I go away."

There's much more there, too. In general I find it difficult to carp at players for trying to get all the market will bear when they reach free agency—their earning career is about 10 years long, if they're lucky, and they're not bargaining directly with the fans, they're bargaining with people who are far, far richer than they have any hope to be.

Even still, I think Molina is going at this the best way he can, even if it sounds gruff now. If you're not sure you'd be willing to offer a hometown discount, don't suggest it as a possibility—presumably Molina learned this lesson from watching Albert Pujols get excoriated for years of uncertain comments to that effect.


2012 Cardinals Spring Training Schedule: Radio, TV, And Grapefruit League Game Times

The St. Louis Cardinals have reported to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida, and after the long tease of pitchers and catchers and everybody else finally reporting the games—the real, score-is-being-kept baseball games—are nearly here. Here's what the Cardinals' 2012 Grapefruit League dance card looks like, starting with their March 5 bout against the newly rechristened Miami Marlins. Televised games—they'll be on Fox Sports Midwest—are in italics; all times are Central.

March 5, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Marlins

March 6, 12:10: Cardinals at New York Mets

March 7, 12:05: Cardinals at Washington Natinoals.

March 8, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Boston Red Sox

March 9, 12:05: Cardinals at Minnesota Twins

March 10, 12:05: Cardinals at Marlins

March 11, 12:05 CDT: Cardinals vs. Nationals

March 12, 12:05: Split-squad Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves, Nationals

March 13, 12:10: Cardinals at Mets

March 14, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Houston Astros

March 15, 1:35: Cardinals at Red Sox

March 16, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Marlins

March 17, 12:05: Cardinals at Detroit Tigers

March 18, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Marlins

March 19, 12:05: Cardinals at Braves

March 20, 12:05: Cardinals at Astros

March 21, 12:05: Cardinals vs Mets

March 22, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Nationals

March 23, 12:05: Cardinals at Marlins

March 24, 12:10: Cardinals at Mets

March 25, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Twins

March 26, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Mets

Match 28, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Tigers

March 29, 12:05: Cardinals at Marlins

March 30, 12:05: Cardinals vs. Mets

March 31, 12:05: Cardinals at Nationals

The Cardinals will play one more Spring Training contest against the Washington Nationals on April 1, and then head to Springfield, MIssouri, for their game against the Texas League Cardinals, before opening up the Marlins' new ballpark back in—well, Florida. For all that talk of going north at the end of the month's workouts and scrimmages, they don't spend much time up there...

If you're looking to buy Spring Training tickets, Viva El Birdos's ticket analytics page can show you where the market's headed and help you swoop in at the right moment.


Cardinals Spring Training 2012: St. Louis Begins Pursuit Of Repeat Championship On Saturday

With Florida's Grapefruit League starting up in a matter of weeks, the St. Louis Cardinals are getting ready for their 2012 season and their chance at defending the champion's crown. The schedule kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 18, with the pitchers and catchers reporting:

Cardinals Reporting Dates

Pitchers & Catchers: Saturday, Feb. 18
First Workout: Sunday, Feb. 19
Position Players: Thursday, Feb. 23
First Full Workout: Friday, Feb. 24

The Cardinals will get their first look at their rotation on Saturday, and the are expected to roll out a starting rotation something like this:

1) Adam Wainwright
2) Chris Carpenter
3) Kyle Lohse
4) Jaime Garcia
5) Jake Westbrook

Last year, the team was almost entirely without the services of ace SP Adam Wainwright after a severe injury ended his year during the preseason. In 2011, without Wainwright, the Cardinals still managed to cobble together a solid rotation with a 3.81 ERA and 3.69 FIP.

Here's a look at the first week of games for the Cardinals:

2012 St. Cardinals Spring Training Schedule

Date Time Opponent Location
March 5
1:05 p.m.
Miami Jupiter
March 6
1:10 p.m. NY Mets
St. Lucie
March 7
1:05 p.m. Washington Viera
March 8
1:05 p.m. Boston
March 9
1:05 p.m. Minnesota Ft. Myers
March 10
1:05 p.m. Miami Jupiter
March 11
1:05 p.m. Washington Jupiter

For more news and analysis on the St. Louis Cardinals, drop by the Cards blog Viva El Birdos. For more game previews and recaps, stay tuned to SB Nation St. Louis.


Yadier Molina Doesn't Hate St. Louis Cardinals After All, Confirms Manager

For a while things in the St. Louis Cardinals' newly Pujols-less world seemed pretty calm, but Yadier Molina's comments ahead of Spring Training—it's a business, he's sad Albert Pujols is gone, the Cardinals will do what the Cardinals will do, et cetera—riled things up enough that new manager Mike Matheny had to perform his first bit of damage control over the weekend. Speaking to Joe Strauss, who wrote the original Molina story, Matheny reminded Cardinals fans that, for one thing, Molina was already at Roger Dean Stadium.

He also suggests there's no connection between Molina's decision to skip the Winter Warm-Up and his angst over Pujols's exit, which I'm willing to buy—that always seemed more like a weird fan inference than a real possibility.

So: The Cardinals aren't likely to get a hometown discount from Molina, but it was probably foolish to expect one in the first place; in the meantime, it makes sense anyway to wait and see what he'll do in his contract year, considering how over his head he appeared to play on offense in 2011.

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