Day 43: Marlins (17-11) @ Cardinals (11-12)
It’s Grapefruit League finale day, an exciting arrival for all down here. The Cardinals are a win away from leaving Florida with a .500 record (not that it really matters). The club is flying to/from Memphis on Friday with an exhibition game between the two flights. Joe Kelly has already been announced as the Cardinals’ starter for that game.
As for today, Michael Wacha makes his final spring start in preparation for his 2014 debut next Wednesday in the second game of the Cardinals’ season. He faced Houston in each of his previous two outings, so at least he’ll get a new opponent in this last spring test.
Replace Wacha with Adam Wainwright and Tony Cruz with Yadier Molina and this could be your Opening Day lineup. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Kolten Wong and Jhonny Peralta swap places given the strong spring that Wong has had.
While the club prepares to depart Florida, Jason Motte and Jaime Garcia are readying for the next steps in their respective rehab programs. Motte will play catch the next two days and then plans to pitch in a Minor League game on Saturday. It will be his first actual game appearance since March 23, 2013. Motte said he intends to return to St. Louis for the home opener (April 7) and perhaps could be ready to go out on a rehab assignment after that.
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