Cardinals 5, Astros 2

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Over on cardinals.com, you can read more about Michael Wacha’s impressive effortMatt Adams’ strong showing against a leftyMark Ellis’ return… and more. Included in there is this stat, which I found particularly interesting: After walking 43 batters in the team’s first 10 spring games, the Cardinals have issued 26 in 11 games since.

Here are some other leftover notes from a day in central Florida…

***

While watching Adams drive three pitches off left-hander Brett Oberholtzer today, I noticed that Adams is no longer wearing the big, black brace on his right elbow. In an effort for full disclosure, I don’t know the exact date that Adams stopped wearing the brace, but I did find it notable since he had said earlier this spring that he intended to wear it all season as a precautionary measure.

I asked Adams about it afterward.

“I made a decision that [the elbow] feels good,” he explained. “It was my call. I’m still talking to the trainers, and if I feel slightly anything, I’m going to throw it back on there. Right now, it feels good and I’m going to keep swinging without it.”

***

Wacha has his pickoff move down — well, at least with Jose Altuve on base. For the second time in as many starts, Wacha picked Altuve off first base. “He gets some big leads, I guess,” Wacha said afterward. The Cardinals do have their pitchers work extensively on their pickoff moves throughout spring training.

The All-Star Altuve, though, got a bit of payback in his next at-bat when he crushed a home run to center off of Wacha. “I think it’s still going,” Wacha said.

***

Reliever Keith Butler was finally able to get into a game — his first appearance since last Sunday. He looked good, too, in throwing a scoreless eighth. The Cardinals do have one bullpen spot left to give, and Butler is one of a few pitchers still being considered for it.

Said manager Mike Matheny: “I liked how Butler commanded the zone with his fastball, and that’s something we hadn’t seen a lot of. … He’s come down a little in his [arm] slot, has good movement on it and is getting good groundballs. That makes a big difference. He did a nice job with the inning he had today.”

***

Back in Jupiter, the Cardinals’ minor league players faced each other in intrasquad games. Randy Choate appeared in one to get some work after not appearing in Friday’s game. He faced three lefties, struck out one, and threw 13 pitches.

Tyler Lyons made his first appearance since being sent out of big league camp. In three scoreless innings, Lyons walked two and struck out one. Jermaine Curtis had the only hit for Memphis, which was playing against Springfield.

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