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Spring Training 2011: St. Louis Cardinals Kick Off Grapefruit League Slate Vs. Marlins

Raul Valdes is the starter, and Bryan Augenstein and Blake King are among the relievers set to follow him up, but Spring Training 2011 is officially in session—the St. Louis Cardinals will play the Florida Marlins Monday at 12:05 CST at Jupiter, Florida's Roger Dean Stadium. The Post-Dispatch reports that Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman will start, which should give Valdes and King more run support than they are historically accustomed to. 

Berkman is starting (and playing in the outfield) after struggling to loosen up a sore elbow over the weekend. David Freese, recovering from ankle problems that claimed much of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, won't play, although he expects to be back in at least a limited capacity well before Opening Day. 

Among the pitchers in today's action, Valdes and Augenstein are at least ostensibly candidates for the fifth-starter spot vacated following Adam Wainwright's elbow injury. Fernando Salas, set to pitch third, is likely to break camp in the Major League bullpen, while Eduardo Sanchez remains one of the Cardinals' top relief prospects. Blake King and Francisco Samuel are hard-throwing relievers whose control problems have oscillated between "serious" and "legendary." 

Follow all the action along with an extremely active game thread at Viva El Birdos