St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of March 8-14

photo: Kwang-Hyun Kim (St. Louis Cardinals)

Spring Training Game Recaps

Monday, March 8 – Cardinals 7, Marlins 7

The St. Louis Cardinals played the Miami Marlins in a second spring game that ended in a tie. Unlike the earlier scoreless tilt, seven runs were scored on each side.

Kwang-Hyun Kim started and the left hander pitched 2 1/3 innings, gaving up four runs on six hits.  He struck out two and walked one. Junior Fernandez, Roel Ramirez, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Andrew Miller, Connor Jones, Giovanny Gallegos, Evan Kruczynski and Ryan Helsley followed.  Ponce de Leon allowed one run and Miller surrendered two runs.  All the other pitchers had scoreless outings.

Tyler O’Neill

The Redbirds offense scored seven runs on eight hits. Tyler O’Neill drove in three runs on a double in the first inning.  Dylan Carlson’s single and a Delvin Perez’ triple plated two runs each in the fifth inning.  Tommy Edman, Paul Goldschmidt, John Nogowski, Nolan Arenado, and Justin Williams each had a hit.

Two errors were made in the field, a throwing error by Nogowski and a wild pickoff attempt by Helsley.

Tuesday, March 9 – Cardinals 3 at Mets 5

The Cardinals headed north to Port St. Lucie on Tuesday to play the Mets.  The game started well for the Redbirds, but ended with a 5-3 loss.

St. Louis got on the board first with two runs in the second inning on a single by Andrew Knizner and a sac fly by Edmundo Sosa.  Justin Williams’ solo home run in the fourth gave the Cardinals the 3-0 edge.

Starting pitcher Carlos Martinez tossed three scoreless innings with two hits allowed.  The right hander fanned three and walked two.  Alex Reyes, Genesis Cabrera, and Tyler Webb followed with a scoreless inning each.  The wheels came off the bus in the seventh when Angel Rondon gave up five Mets runs on two hits.  Only two of the runs were earned.  Rondon exited the inning with only one out and Seth Elledge finished the inning.  Kodi Whitley pitched a scoreless eighth.

The Cardinals had one error, a throwing miscue from 3B Nolan Gorman that resulted in run scoring.

Wednesday, March 10 – Cardinals 2 at Nationals 3

The Cardinals lost a squeaker to the Nationals at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on Wednesday. Starter Jack Flaherty surrendered two runs on two hits in four innings pitched.  The right hander struck out four and walked one.

Johan Oveido followed and yielded one run on two hits in his two innings on the mound.  He struck out three and issued no free passes.  Tommy Parsons finished the contest with two scoreless innings.

The Cardinals had to play catch up after falling behind 3-0 due to the one man offense of Nationals infielder Starlin Castro, who homered and tripled to drive in all three Washington runs.  In the seventh inning Nolan Arenado’s sac fly plated the first Redbird runner.  The second and final run came home in the ninth inning on a ground out by John Nogowski.  The offense managed five hits, two from the bat of leadoff hitter Tommy Edman. Jose Rondon tripled.  Andrew Knizner and Tyler Heinemann each singled.

Thursday, March 11 – Off day

Friday, March 12 – Cardinals 4, Astros 3

The Cardinals returned home on Friday to take on the Houston Astros.  The squeaker this time was in the Redbirds’ favor.

All four of St. Louis’ runs came via the long ball.  Tyler O’Neill blasted a two run shot in the fourth inning to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.  The Astros responded with one run in the top of the fifth, and tied it up the next inning.  Yadier Molina thumped his first spring home run in the sixth, a two run shot to bring the score to 4-2.  The Astros scored again in the seventh but it was one run too little and the Cardinals held on to win 4-3.

Adam Wainwright

Adam Wainwright started and continued his dominance in the spring.  The right hander tossed four scoreless frames with only one hit allowed.  He fanned three and walked one. Wainwright was followed by Tyler Webb, Ryan Helsley, Andrew Miller, Giovanny Gallegos and Kodi Whitley.  Webb, Helsley and Miller were each responsible for one Houston run.

Saturday, March 13 – Cardinals 6 at Marlins 4

The Cardinals finally played a game against the Marlins that didn’t end in a tie.  Fortunately for the Redbirds, it ended in a win for them.

Starter Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched 3 2/3 innings and gave up one run on four hits.  The right hander struck out two and walked one.  Roel Ramirez entered in the fourth inning and got the final out.  Matthew Liberatore tossed the next two scoreless innings.  Zack Thompson followed and pitched 1 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs on no hits.  The left hander fanned three and walked three.  Seth Elledge hurled the final 1 1/3 innings and surrendered one run on two hits.

John Nogowski

St. Louis’ offense scored six runs on 11 hits.  The first run scored in the fifth inning as John Nogowski singled on a ground ball to right field to plate Austin Dean.  In the seventh, Lane Thomas doubled to score Dean a second time.  Nogowski then singled to bring in Thomas.

In the ninth,  Lars Nootbaar tripled to center to score a run and once again Nogowski singled to plate two runs.  Nogowksi went 4-for-4 with four RBI.    Dean was 2-for-3.

In the field, Scott Hurst had an outfield assist and Tyler Heineman had a passed ball.  Justin Toerner stole his first spring base.

Sunday, March 14 – Cardinals 5 at Mets 7

The Cardinals went north again to play the Mets in Port St. Lucie.  It ended in another two run loss for the Redbirds.

St. Louis’ offense got on the board in the first inning with two runs on a line drive single by Jose Rondon.  The Mets responded in the bottom frame with two runs to tie.

The Cardinals went back on top in the third inning on a sac fly by Rondon.  In the fifth inning the Redbirds increased their lead to 4-2 on an RBI double by Matt Carpenter, his first hit of the spring.  The Mets came back in the bottom half of the fifth to put five runs on the board.  The Cardinals were able to add one more run in the ninth on a sac fly by Justin Toerner.

Carlos Martinez got the start and pitched four innings, giving up two runs on five hits. The right hander struck out three and walked one.  Jordan Hicks made his first start of the spring.  Hicks was only able to pitch to one batter, Luis Guillorme, who worked a 22 pitch walk that exhausted Hicks’ first-outing pitch allocation. Guillorme later scored and the run was charged to Hicks.

Garrett Williams entered and was unable to record an out, surrendering three runs without giving up a hit.  Two hit by pitches and a walk brought home one run and left two runners on for the next pitcher Evan Kruczynski.  Kruczynski yielded consecutive singles to bring the other runs home that were charged to Williams.  Kruczynski also hit a batter but induced a double play and a ground ball out to end the inning.

Tommy Parsons added two scoreless innings and Jake Woodford tossed a scoreless eighth to finish the game.

News and Notes from Spring Training

  • OF Matt Szczur has a mild quad issue and has been held back from games. He is expected to return to games in the coming week, likely Monday.
  • Per Mike Shildt, Carlos Martinez will be in the starting rotation.
  • LHPs Matthew Liberatore and Zack Thompson are going to be stretched out as starters, though not in the opening day rotation conversation, but as possible starters later on.
  • Tyler O’Neill’s performance at the plate will earn him a higher spot in the lineup on Monday according to Mike Shildt.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.


3/13 The Cardinals optioned RHPs Junior Fernandez and Johan Quezada to minor league camp.

3/13 The Cardinals reassigned RHP Connor Jones, RHP Griffin Roberts, LHP Austin Warner, LHP Garrett Williams, C Pedro Pages, C Carlos Soto, 1B Luken Baker, 2B Kramer Robertson, OF Lars Nootbaar, and OF Justin Toerner to minor league camp.

Injury Report

  • RHP Miles Mikolas (shoulder) has been shut down from throwing for 7-10 days. The right hander was recovering from surgery on his right flexor tendon and has had issues with a sore shoulder while throwing.  An MRI showed no structural issues. Mikolas has not faced live hitters since February 25 and the shutdown means he will not be ready to pitch by Opening Day.
  • LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim was scratched from his Saturday start after experiencing back stiffness following his most recent bullpen session. A timeline to return to throwing has not been set as the team is allowing Kim time to rest and recover before he returns to throwing or live game action.  Manager Mike Shildt doesn’t rule out placement on the IL to begin the season along with Mikolas. John Gant and Daniel Ponce de Leon seem the top candiates to fill in for the two injured starters.
  • CF Harrison Bader (right forearm) has returned to game action with his first start since a week long shutdown coming in Wednesday’s game. He has since started in two additional contests.
  • Non-roster OF Matt Szczur has a “light quad issue” per manager Mike Shildt and has been out of games for the week. He is expected to return on Monday.
  • RP Jordan Hicks made this first game appearance since 2019 on Sunday, with his 22-pitch outing considered a success by Shildt. Hicks will be on a normal game schedule ahead.

For more

Stop by The Cardinal Nation’s free forum to read a quick synopsis of manager Mike Shildt’ daily media comments.

Looking Ahead

The third week of Spring Training games begins on Monday with a contest against the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium. John Gant is expected to be the starter.

After no game on Tuesday, during which Jack Flaherty will throw against St. Louis hitters in Jupiter, the Cardinals will travel to West Palm Beach for a Wednesday tilt against the Astros. The team returns to Jupiter on Thursday to face the Marlins as the visiting team.

On Friday, the Cardinals again bus north to Port St. Lucie to play the Mets, then return to Jupiter to take on the Astros on Saturday.  The Cardinals have another off day on Sunday.

The Spring Training game schedule can be found here.  The Cardinals are playing only the four teams on the east coast of Florida to minimize travel – the Marlins, Mets, Astros and Nationals. The Cardinals have a 24 game schedule of six games each against the four.

The last spring training game will be on March 29 against the Mets at Roger Dean Stadium, game time 11:05 am CT.  The Cardinals regular season begins on April 1 in Cincinnati in the Reds’ home opener.  First pitch is 3:10 pm CT.

Blast from the Past

We continue the series of articles considering the Cardinals Hall of Fame credentials of various individuals associated with the team by taking a look at Dave Ricketts, a catcher in the Cardinals organization who made his impact as a coach for many years.

David William Ricketts was born on July 12, 1935 in Pottstown Pennsylvania, the third of four children born to Richard J. Ricketts Sr and Margaret Ricketts.  Richard Sr. was African American and Margaret was of Irish descent.  Dave’s older brother Dick also played baseball as a pitcher for one season with the Cardinals.

Dave Ricketts

In addition to baseball, Dave excelled at basketball, playing three seasons in the NBA before giving up hoops to focus on baseball.  Ricketts was signed by the Cardinals in 1957 for a bonus of $4,000.  Ricketts spent his early years in the minor leagues, also sitting out the 1958 and 1959 seasons for military service.  He returned to the organization in 1960 and remained in the minor leagues until making his major league debut with the Cardinals on September 25, 1963.

Dave went back to the minor leagues in 1964 and part of 1965, getting call ups that season when both Tim McCarver and Bob Uecker were injured.  He returned to the minor leagues in 1966. He finally made the major leagues for good in 1967 as the back up for McCarver.  He played three full major league seasons with the Cardinals, then was traded to Pittsburgh in 1970, where he ended his playing career.

Ricketts’ playing days were sturdy but unspectacular.  His career slash line was .249/.278/.305.  Where Dave made his impact was as a teacher and coach.  He began as the bullpen coach for the Pirates in 1971.  At that time he was one of only a handful of African American coaches in baseball.  Ricketts remained with the Pirates through the 1973 season and then was hired to be the Cardinals bullpen coach in 1974.  He spent two seasons at that position before being sent to manage in the minor league system for Sarasota and Johnson City.  He returned as the Cardinals bullpen coach in 1978 where he remained until 1991.

Ricketts returned to the minor leagues as catching instructor where he taught the likes of Tom Pagnozzi, Mike Matheny, and yes, Yadier Molina.  Those three catchers among them have won 16 Gold Gloves.  Quite a testament to the teaching of Ricketts.

Yadier Molina has spoken long and often about the man he says “saved his life”.   Molina once tweeted  that Ricketts “made him a catcher” and “I’m here because of him” some five years after Ricketts’ passing from kidney cancer in 2008.

(Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Tony La Russa once said that he knew of no one greater or more beloved in the Cardinals organization than Dave Ricketts.

Since his passing, a plaque honoring Ricketts has been affixed to the Cardinals batting cages in Jupiter.

Last week we looked at the many pros and little if no cons to the induction of Dave Duncan into the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  Ricketts is no less worthy, as he was to Cardinals catchers as Duncan was to Cardinals pitchers.

The catching greatness Ricketts left behind speaks volumes.  Just ask Yadier Molina.

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