St. Louis Cardinals Major League Notebook – February 26-March 3

photo: Brandon Crawford (Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

In the first full week of St. Louis Cardinals spring training games, the team went 1-3 plus two ties and a cancellation. They scored just nine runs over six games and have yet to hit a home run. 13-year veteran Brandon Crawford was signed as the reserve shortstop. Our history feature covers 2017 spring training.



Cardinals sign free agent shortstop Brandon Crawford

The St. Louis Cardinals added another veteran presence on the roster and in the clubhouse over the weekend with the signing of free agent shortstop Brandon Crawford on a one year, $2 million contract.

The Cardinals were reportedly on the lookout for a shortstop to back up rookie Masyn Winn. They had been considering a list that included Crawford along with Nick Ahmed, Enrique Hernandez and others who remained on the market.

Ahmed and Hernandez were snapped up by the Giants and Dodgers respectively last week. With Tommy Edman recovering from offseason wrist surgery and not yet ready to see Grapefruit League action, the Cardinals felt the need to acquire depth at the shortstop position and did so with the addition of Crawford.

Brandon Crawford

Crawford, 37, played his entire 13-year career with the San Francisco Giants as an All-Star shortstop with four Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger Award to his credit.

Crawford had a tough injury plagued season with the Giants in 2023 but was an All-Star as recently as 2021. Crawford had reportedly been considering retirement if he did not land with a team, and the Cardinals seized the opportunity to grab the former Gold Glover as insurance in case Winn struggled in his first full season with the Cardinals.

Crawford is expected to be a mentor to the soon to be 22-year-old Winn, while receiving playing time when it is available. Crawford says he finds the mentor/ backup role appealing and is eager to show how he can contribute to the team.

Spring Training game recaps

Monday, February 26, 2024 – Cardinals 1 at Marlins 1

The Cardinals and the Marlins played to a 1-1 tie in Monday’s contest at Roger Dean Stadium. Sem Robberse started and pitched two scoreless innings. The right hander allowed one hit, struck out two and walked one.

Sem Robberse

Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Kittredge, Matt Svanson, Cooper Hjerpe, Ryan Loutos and Trent Baker followed Robberse in relief. Gallegos gave up the tying run. Hjerpe threw two scoreless innings, while the other relief pitchers each tossed a scoreless inning.

St. Louis’ offense scored one run on nine hits. Ivan Herrera drove in the team’s only run. No hitter had multiple hits.

On the base paths, Arquimedes Gamboa was caught stealing.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024 – Cardinals 3, Red Sox 3

The Cardinals played their second tie of the week, by a 3-3 score against the Red Sox at home on Tuesday. Sonny Gray made his first Grapefruit League start. The right hander pitched two scoreless innings, allowed two hits, struck out two and walked two.

Sonny Gray

Following in relief were Keynan Middleton, Riley O’Brien, Andre Pallante, John King, Nick Robertson, Ryan Fernandez, and Wilking Rodriguez. Each pitched one inning. King yielded two runs and Robertson surrendered the tying run.

On offense, Luken Baker went 2-for-2 with an RBI. Willson Contreras and Jeremy Rivas each drove in a run.

In the field, Contreras and Pedro Pages each made a throwing error. Gray picked a runner off second base.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 – Cardinals 0 at Mets 3

The Cardinals were blanked by the Mets in a 3-0 road contest on Wednesday.  Starter Miles Mikolas pitched two scoreless innings, allowed two hits and struck out one.

Relief began with Ryan Helsley, followed by JoJo Romero, Kyle Leahy, Victor Santos, and Max Rajcic. Romero, Leahy, and Rajcic each gave up a run.

Alec Burleson went 2-for-3 as the only batter with multiple hits. Pedro Pages had the only extra base hit, a double. The offense was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and left six men on base.

Thursday, February 29, 2024 – Cardinals 1, Nationals 3

At home on Thursday, the Cardinals lost to the Nationals by the score of 3-1. Kyle Gibson started and pitched two innings. He gave up all three Nationals runs on three hits. The right hander struck out two and surrendered two long balls.

Pitching in relief were Giovanny Gallegos, Andrew Kittredge, Michael McGreevy, Adam Kloffenstein, and Connor Thomas. McGreevy and Kloffenstein threw two innings each.

St. Louis’ offense scored one run on five hits. No Cardinal had multiple hits. César Prieto drove in the only run. A double by Masyn Winn was the only extra base hit.

Friday, March 1, 2024 – Cardinals 3, Mets 2

The Cardinals edged the Mets 3-2 on Friday at Roger Dean Stadium. Matthew Liberatore took the mound for the start and pitched three innings, gave up one run on two hits and walked one.

Riley O’Brien, Gordon Graceffo, Andre Pallante, Nick Robertson, and Ryan Fernandez followed Liberatore in relief. Robertson gave up the Mets’ second run. Graceffo tossed two scoreless innings.

José Fermín

The Cardinals scored three runs on eight hits. José Fermín was 3-for-3. Alec Burleson was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Extra base hits were a double by Alfonso Rivas and a triple by Jordan Walker. Walker and Dylan Carlson each drove in a run.

On the base paths, Carlson and Fermín each stole a base.

Saturday, March 2, 2024 – Cardinals 1 at Astros 7

The Cardinals were blasted by the Astros in a six-run loss in West Palm Beach on Saturday. Starter Zack Thompson pitched three innings, gave up two runs on three hits, and struck out three.

Keynan Middleton, John King, Sem Robberse, Wilking Rodriguez and Alex Cornwell followed in relief. Robberse surrendered two runs in two innings. Rodriguez yielded three runs in 2/3 of an inning.

The offense scored one run on six hits. Nick Raposo drove in the only run. No Cardinal had multiple hits. Luken Baker and José Fermín each doubled. Victor Scott II tripled.

On the base paths, Lars Nootbaar and Matt Koperniak each stole a base. Masyn Winn swiped two bags.

Sunday, March 3, 2024 – Cardinals vs. Marlins (cancelled)

Sunday afternoon’s game between the two teams residing in Jupiter was cancelled due to rain in the area.

News and Notes from Cardinals Spring Training

This section features spring training news items each week that do not require extensive coverage.

  • The Spring Training broadcast schedule is available here. Bally Sports Midwest is broadcasting fewer games this spring, as the schedule shows. Typically, 15 games have been televised, but the 2024 TV schedule is only 12 games. The total number of Cardinals games broadcast by Bally Sports Midwest plus other tv outlets has also declined.

All games are available in some medium however, as the remainder of the games not televised by Bally Sports Midwest or the TV outlets of opposing teams will be picked up in audio form by either KMOX or the Cardinals Radio Network. This includes all 30 games in Florida plus the two scheduled games in Arizona against the Cubs.

  • Regular season single game tickets are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased online here or on the Ballpark App.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.

Transactions

  • 2/27 The Cardinals signed free agent SS Brandon Crawford.
  • 2/27 The Cardinals designated 3B Buddy Kennedy for assignment.
  • 2/29 3B Buddy Kennedy was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Tigers.

Buddy Kennedy

Injury Report

  • CF Tommy Edman (arthroscopic wrist surgery) is delayed in his return from surgery. Edman is not close to appearing in a Grapefruit League game. Edman’s baseball activities are limited to fielding ground balls, soft toss throws and hitting off a tee. Edman is reported to be further along hitting from the left side than the right side. His return date is to be determined.

Tommy Edman

  • C Ivan Herrera injured his left shoulder while taking batting practice on March 1. Herrera was kept out of game action over the weekend. Manager Oli Marmol reported that Herrera was hitting at full speed in the batting cage on Sunday and is expected to be back in games in the next day or two.

Iván Herrera

  • RHP Tekoah Roby was scratched from his start on February 26 due to back tightness. There has been no further update on when Roby may return to pitch and he is considered day to day.

Tekoah Roby

Looking Ahead

The first full week of Grapefruit League play began on Monday. The Cardinals played six games of the seven scheduled, as Sunday’s game was cancelled due to rain. Their overall record is 3-4 with two ties and a cancellation. The offense has been sputtering, scoring just nine runs over the six games this past week. Collectively, the Cardinals offense has zero home runs this spring.

The team begins the second full week of Grapefruit League play with a Monday game against the Nationals in Palm Beach. The remainder of the week includes games in Jupiter against the Twins, Astros and Mets, another game with the Astros in Palm Beach, and ends with a contest against the Marlins in Jupiter with the Cardinals as the road team.

The Cardinals Spring Training schedule can be found here.

A link to the Spring Training broadcast schedule is provided in this report.

The last spring training game in Florida will be against the Astros in Palm Beach on March 24. The Cardinals will then travel to Arizona to play the final two spring games against the Cubs on March 25 and 26.

The regular season begins on March 28 with a four-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. They end the road trip in San Diego with three games beginning April 1.

The Cardinals home opener is on April 4 against the Marlins.

Blast from the Past

Spring Training is underway and Grapefruit League play has begun. For the next few weeks, Blast from the Past reviews past spring trainings for which rosters and stats are available.

The website Baseball Cube has spring training stats going back to 2006. Last week we looked at the 2014 season. This week we jump to the spring of 2017.

The 2017 Spring Training roster consisted of 74 players in total, 39 position players and 35 pitchers. The entire roster can be found here.

Jose Martinez (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The primary position players were Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, Paul DeJong, Jedd Gyorko, Tommy Pham. Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty. Other notable players were Randal Grichuk, Harrison Bader, Matt Adams, Jhonny Peralta, Jose Martinez, Patrick Wisdom, Carson Kelly, Greg Garcia, Luke Voit, and Aledmys Diaz.

The starting pitchers were Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, and Mike Leake. Notable relief pitchers were Seung Hwan Oh, Brett Cecil, Matt Bowman, Tyler Lyons, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson, Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist, Sam Tuivailala, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon, Sandy Alcantara, Luke Weaver, Junior Fernandez, Jake Woodford, John Gant, Mike Mayers, and Jonathan Broxton.

St. Louis’ Spring Training record was 20-8. The first spring training game was on February 25 and the finale was on March 29.

The top hitters by OPS were Jose Martinez (1.248), Alberto Rosario (1.105), Matt Adams (1.077), Patrick Wisdom (1.072), Dexter Fowler (1.057), Harrison Bader (.942) and Magneuris Sierra (.908).

Matt Bowman (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Top starters ERA: Lance Lynn (1.20), Carlos Martinez (1.38), and Michael Wacha (2.42).

Top relievers ERA with at least 10 IP:  Matt Bowman (0.00), John Gant (1.50), Mike Mayers (1.64), Jonathan Broxton (1.64), and Trevor Rosenthal (1.80)

The Cardinals played these teams in Spring Training:  Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros.

The Cardinals opened the 2017 regular season on April 2 at home against the Cubs. The first road series began on April 10 in Washington with the Nationals.


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