St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of February 25 – March 3

photo: Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Spring game recaps

Monday, February 25 – Cardinals 3, Tigers 3

The Detroit Tigers brought a split squad to fact the St. Louis Cardinals Jupiter on Monday, a group that included slugger Miguel Cabrera.  Jake Woodford made the start for the Cardinals and pitched two innings, giving up two runs on two hits.  Following Woodford was Evan Kruczynski, Williams Perez, Mike Hauschild, Connor Jones, and Mike Mayers.   Perez gave up one run in his two innings pitched.

On offense, the Cardinals scored three runs on six hits, all singles from Jose Martinez, Dylan Carlson, Yairo Munoz, Tommy Edman, Kolten Wong, and Rangel Ravelo.  Munoz, Edman, and Ravelo drove in one run each.

Tuesday, February 26 – Cardinals 6 at Nationals 1

Randy Arozarena (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Tuesday, the Cardinals took on the Nats in the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.  Randy Arozarena had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. He also stole a base.  Francisco Pena, competing for the back-up catcher job, went 2-for-3 with two RBI.  Pena and Paul Goldschmidt doubled.

Adam Wainwright made the start and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings with one strikeout.  Wainwright was followed by Chasen Shreve, who gave up a run in one inning of relief.  Chris Beck, Tommy Layne, Ryan Meisinger, Hunter Cervenka, Ryan Helsley, and Dominic Leone finished the game with scoreless performances.

Wednesday, February 27 – Cardinals 0, Braves 4

Dakota Hudson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals were shut out by the Braves in Jupiter on Wednesday.  Dakota Hudson got the start and pitched two scoreless innings. Austin Gomber, Brett Cecil, John Brebbia, and Tyler Webb followed with a combined five scoreless innings. In the eighth, Seth Elledge took the mound and gave up four runs, three earned, on two hits.  Giovanny Gallegos pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side.

The offense managed four hits, with Yairo Munoz going 2-for-3 with a double. Kolten Wong and Harrison Bader both singled.

Wong stole his first base of the spring, and Munoz was caught stealing for the first time.  Edmundo Sosa committed a fielding error at shortstop.

Thursday, February 28 – Cardinals 2, Mets 3

The Mets came to Jupiter on Thursday and defeated the Redbirds 3-2.  Matt Carpenter hit his first spring home run, a solo shot in the first inning on his way to a 2-for-2 day.  Dylan Carlson and Sosa each contributed a double, and Sosa drove in a run.

Starter Miles Mikolas pitched three scoreless innings, allowing five hits and walking one.  Jack Flaherty followed and surrendered two runs on three hits in his three innings.  Flaherty fanned five and walked one.  Mike Mayers took the seventh and allowed one run.  Jordan Hicks fanned three in the eighth and walked one.  Genesis Cabrera tossed a scoreless ninth.

Friday, March 1 – Cardinals 4 at Astros 4

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Astros came to Jupiter on Friday and the game ended in the second tie of the week and spring.

John Gant got the start and pitched three innings, giving up one run on four hits.  Connor Jones tossed a scoreless fourth.  Andrew Miller, in his first appearance of the spring, surrendered three runs on two hits in the fifth.  He was removed with two outs in the inning for Chris Beck, who got the final out of the inning.  Beck returned to pitch a scoreless sixth.  Ryan Helsley, Ryan Meisinger, and Tyler Webb combined for the final three scoreless frames.

The Cardinals offense came on solo home runs by Scott Hurst and Tyler O’Neill, and RBI singles by Rangel Ravelo and Joe Hudson. Paul DeJong doubled. Ramon Urias and Max Schrock singled.

Kolten Wong stole his second base of the spring.

Saturday, March 2 – Cardinals 4, Marlins 3

Michael Wacha (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals prevailed as the home team against the Marlins in Jupiter on Saturday.  Randy Arozarena had another good day at the plate, going 2-for-4 including a triple, with two runs scored. Francisco Pena went 2-for-3 with an RBI.  Tommy Edman, Edmundo Sosa, and Jeremy Martinez contributed doubles.

Michael Wacha made the start and pitched three scoreless innings. He fanned four and walked one.  Chasen Shreve and Dominic Leone followed with a scoreless inning each.  Tommy Layne gave up two runs on two hits in the sixth.  Mike Hauschild pitched a scoreless seventh.  Jake Woodford took the final two innings and surrendered one unearned run.

Chase Pinder stole his first base of the spring.  Tommy Edman made a fielding error and a throwing error.  Leone committed an error on a pickoff attempt.

Sunday, March 3 – Cardinals 8, Mets 10

Matt Carpenter (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Sunday, the Mets made their second trip to Jupiter this spring. The lead changed hands several times, but the Mets prevailed in the end.

Starter Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched three innings and gave up three runs on four hits, including a two-run home run.  Dakota Hudson followed with 1 2/3 innings, during which he surrendered two runs on four hits.  John Brebbia relinquished two runs in his 1 2/3 innings and Giovanny Gallegos added 1 2/3 innings in which he gave up three runs.  Only Tyler Webb came out unscathed with a scoreless ninth.

Matt Carpenter blasted his second spring home run, a two run shot, in the second inning.  Tyler O’Neill hit his third, another two run shot, in the fifth.  Jedd Gyorko went 2-for-2 with an RBI.  Edmundo Sosa, who pinch ran for Gyorko, then remained in the game to play shortstop, and was 2-for-3.  Ramon Urias went 2-for-5.  Sosa and Scott Hurst each tripled.

Carpenter stole his first base of the spring.  Adolis Garcia swiped two.  Sosa and Harrison Bader were both caught stealing.

Joe Hudson committed a throwing error and Urias made a missed catch error.

Cardinals extend Mikolas

Miles Mikolas (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

On Tuesday, the Cardinals announced they had extended Miles Mikolas’ contract through the 2023 season.  The four-year deal, worth $68 million dollars, will begin after Mikolas’ current contract expires at the end of this season.  The contract includes a full no trade clause and an escalator clause that adds $2 million if the hurler pitches 200 innings in 2019.

Mikolas was signed by the Cardinals to a two-year contract for 2018-19 after returning to MLB after a three-year stint pitching in Japan. The right hander pitched well in 2018, posting an ERA of 2.83 and finishing sixth in the NL Cy Young Award voting.  In other 2018 accomplishments, Mikolas had the highest strike rate in the majors at 69.3% and was the third pitcher in MLB history to win 10 games on the road without a loss.  Mikolas earned an All-Star berth but was unable to take part in the game because his wife gave birth to twins.

The extension announcement followed by three days the announcement that Mikolas would be the opening day starter.

Wieters to compete for backup catcher

Matt Wieters (Jasen Vinlove/Imagn)

The Cardinals gave potential backup catcher Francisco Pena some added competition this past week by adding free agent veteran catcher Matt Wieters to the team on a minor league deal.

Wieters, 32, a 10-year veteran, had gone unsigned over the offseason before the Cardinals extended their offer.  Wieters played the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals.  Prior to that he spent eight seasons as the primary catcher for the Baltimore Orioles.  Wieter made four All-Star appearances as an Oriole and also won two catching Gold Glove Awards.  Injuries have plagued the backstop over his career, including Tommy John surgery in 2014 that ended his season mid-year and kept him out of the 2015 season until June.

Two underwhelming seasons with the Nationals left Wieters without a job until the Cardinals came calling.  Wieters will compete with Francisco Pena for the job backing up Yadier Molina.  While Pena has one year as Molina’s back up under his belt, Wieters bring veteran experience with offensive upside as a switch hitter.

Wieters will receive a salary of $1.5 million if the makes the team and has a March 21 out, the same date as does Pena.

Spring Training News and Notes

Brett Cecil (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

A summary of various reports coming out of Spring Training 2019:

  • Alex Reyes is set to make his spring debut on the mound on Tuesday, March 5. He will appear in relief on Tuesday but is still set to stretch out as a starter.
  • Left hander Brett Cecil’s spring has been put on pause in an effort to correct some bad mechanics seen on video from Cecil’s one spring appearance on Wednesday. Cecil will be kept out of games until late this coming week.  Cecil came to camp having lost 30 pounds and has lost an additional 10 pounds since.
  • Dabo Swinney, head coach of the National Champion Clemson Tigers football team, made a visit on Sunday to Cardinals camp as a guest of manager Mike Shildt, and addressed the team. Swinney opened with a video presentation and then shared a message of normalized excellence.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


  • 2/27 The Cardinals signed free agent C Matt Wieters to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Injury Report

C Yadier Molina (knee surgery) has not yet appeared in either of the first two spring games and is not expected to catch in games at least mid-March.  Molina has been taking at bats in squad games on the backfields.

RHP Carlos Martinez (right shoulder) had an in injection of platelet-rich plasma in the shoulder on Monday.  As a result of the injection, Martinez’ rehab program was extended for another week.  The right hander will likely not be ready by opening day and could begin the season on the injured list.

UT Yairo Munoz (left hand) was hit by a pitch in Saturday’s game against the Marlins.  X-rays on the hand came back negative.

OF Lane Thomas suffered an intercostal (rib) injury on a check swing and has not appeared since the second game of the spring. He is expected to return within a week.

Looking Ahead

The first full week of spring training games began on Monday, February 25.  The Cardinals went 2-3-2 for the week and are 3-4-2 overall.  On Monday, March 4, the Cardinals play the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, FL with Adam Wainwright scheduled to start.  On Tuesday, the Cardinals take on the Phillies in Clearwater with Jack Flaherty on the mound for the Redbirds.  The next stop is Tampa on Wednesday to play the Yankees.  John Gant will make the start.  There is no game on Thursday.  On Friday, the Cardinals return home to Jupiter to play the Nationals.  The Astros come to Jupiter on Saturday, and on Sunday the Cardinals travel to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets.

Opening Day of the 2019 regular season is on March 28 as the Cardinals travel to Milwaukee.  The first game of the four-game set is to start at 1:10 CT.  That will be followed by a 7:10 CT game on Friday, 6:10 CT on Saturday, and 1:10 CT on Sunday.

The Cardinals continue on the road to Pittsburgh to play two games against the Pirates on April 1st and 3rd.  There will be no game on Tuesday, April 2.

The Cardinals home opener will be on Thursday, April 4 against the San Diego Padres.  Friday will be an off day, and the Cardinals will resume the series with games against the Padres on Saturday and Sunday.

Blast from the Past

This week’s Blast from the Past moves forward several decades from the prior week to cover a living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  A fan favorite, this former Cardinal is currently in Jupiter for Cardinals spring training.

Lou Brock (USA TODAY Sports Images)

Louis Clark Brock was born on June 18, 1939 in El Dorado, Arkansas, to a family of sharecroppers. When Lou was two years old, his family moved to Collinston, Louisiana.  Brock attended Southern University in Baton Rouge and began playing baseball in order to secure a scholarship to continue his time at the University.  Southern University won the NAIA championship in Brock’s junior year.  Lou was selected to the United States baseball team for the 1959 Pan American Games.

Brock came to St. Louis on a recommendation from a scout to try out for the Cardinals, but the scout was in Seattle to sign Ray Washburn.  Brock then tried out for the Chicago Cubs instead, who signed him as a free agent in 1960.  Brock made his major league debut with the Cubs in September 1961.  Brock had speed and good baserunning skills, but his bat did not impress the Cubs management.  The Cubs lost patience with Brock and traded him to the Cardinals in 1964 for Ernie Broglio.

At the time the trade was thought to be a steal for the Cubs.  Brock, however, had other ideas.  Brock’s hitting improved to .348 in 1964, from his .260 mark for the Cubs over the two previous seasons.  Brock stole 38 bases in that second half of 1964 with the Cardinals.

At the time of the trade, the Cardinals were in eighth place in the National League.  After Brock arrived, the Cardinals raced to the top to take the pennant on the last day of the season, and the team won the 1964 World Series against the Yankees.  Brock finished 10th in the MVP voting in 1964.

Brock broke Maury Wills’ NL single-season stolen base record in 1966.  Lou led the NL in stolen bases eight times between 1966 and 1974.

Brock led the NL in runs scored (113) in 1967, and again (126) in 1971.  He led the NL in doubles (46) and triples (14) in 1968. In his 16 years with the Cardinals, Brock slashed .297/.347/.414, with 129 home runs and 814 RBI.  He stole 888 bases in that span.  In 1979, Brock became the 14th player in MLB history to reach the 3,000 hits plateau.

Brock retired at the end of the 1979 season at the age of 40, having posted a .304 average in that last season.  He was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year that season.  His number 20 was retired by the Cardinals that year.

The NL named its annual stolen base leader award the Lou Brock Award in 1978.  Brock has won many awards over his career, including the Roberto Clemente Award in 1975, the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1977, and the Hutch Award in 1979.

Brock was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.  He was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and was part of the 2014 inaugural class of the Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Brock and his wife Jackie continue to live in St. Louis.  Brock, a diabetic, had his left leg amputated in October 2015.  In April 2017, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.  Several months later Brock announced he was cancer free.

Brock makes appearances when he can at Cardinals games, including the Opening Day ceremonies.  He is currently working as a special instructor for the Cardinals.

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