Cardinals 7, Yankees 6

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

On a day when the Cardinals learned they’d be without a key middle infielder for the rest of the year, the other middle infielders in camp helped lead the club to win over the Yankees. Pete Kozma, Daniel Descalso and Kolten Wong all contributed home runs. Wong’s was a game-tying blast in the ninth that preceded a walk-off single by Adron Chambers.

While none of this actually compensates for the loss of Furcal, it at least made for a good ending on the field. In case you missed the news about Furcal earlier today, click here for the full story.

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The competition for the Cardinals’ fifth rotation spot is down to two, and one of them — Joe Kelly — made his second spring appearance on Thursday. The results weren’t stellar — 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 46 pitches (24 strikes) — but he seemed pleased with the process.

“It’s obviously not what you’re supposed to do,” Kelly said of the walks. “There were a couple of bad misses that I had, but then there were some misses that were either-or. I try not to let the walks frustrate me because I know I can get a grounder any time against any hitter. That’s what I try to do. It’s not like it was the end of the world. I was just trying to get someone to hit in on the ground somewhere.”

The Cardinals wanted to stretch Kelly out to about 50 pitches today. Since he needed nearly that many to get through two innings, Kelly did not go out to try and finish a third.

His rotation competition — Shelby Miller — starts for the Cardinals on Friday.

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I’ve cautioned you before to not read too much into Spring Training results, and I want to mention it again before we start discussing Jason Motte. Yes, I know he has not had a good spring (4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 1 K). But that doesn’t necessitate panic.

There are two things that you have to consider when reading Motte’s numbers. One, he is experimenting with a changeup this spring and he’s throwing it in spots where he wouldn’t during the regular season. He has to be deliberate in using the pitch to get work with it, even at the cost of spring stats.

Two, he’s not pitching in ninth-inning, save situations. This was what manager Mike Matheny highlighted on Thursday when asked to assess Motte’s work so far.

“I’ve never really enjoyed watching closers in Spring Training,” Matheny said. “You put them in the normal closing situation and they’re just facing kids who are up there free swinging with nothing to lose. So you try to throw them earlier in the game and it’s just not the same. Right now we just have to get him built up, working on his secondary pitches.”

Later in spring, Matheny will begin using Motte in late-game spots in an attempt to better simulate how he’ll be used in-season.

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Some leftover notes: Catcher Audry Perez left the game after a pitch struck him on the right thumb. X-rays came back negative. … Marc Rzepczynski threw a scoreless inning in his first appearance since last Friday. He had some downtime in between while nursing left biceps soreness. … Kozma, on the day he essentially moves to the top of the shortstop depth chart, went 2-for-3 with his second homer of spring.

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The Cardinals will head back to Viera on Friday to face the Nationals. The following pitchers are making the trip: Miller, Tyler Lyons, Barret Browning, Eduardo Sanchez, Kevin Siegrist, Michael Blazek, Keith Butler, Victor Marte and Maikel Cleto.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

Hey there! I’ve been reading your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good work!

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