Postcard from Cardinals camp for Thursday, March 9

By Rob Rains

Weather: 76 degrees, partly cloudy

Result: Astros 3, Cardinals 0

JUPITER, Fla. – Matt Carpenter was in the Cardinals’ lineup on Thursday so he could get in some needed in-game work at his new position, first base.

He was listed ninth in the batting order and told not to swing when he came to the plate. But he could still bunt, and he did, getting a two-strike bunt hit against the shift.

For a time, manager Mike Matheny thought it was going to be the Cardinals’ only hit in what turned out to be a four-hit performance by the Astros in handing the Cardinals their second shutout of the season.

His appearance in the field has not changed Carpenter’s timetable for being cleared for full-game participation. That is still expected to come near the end of next week, giving him more than a week of games to be ready for the start of the regular season.

He said he expects to be cleared to take full swings in the cage at the start of next week.

Other news and notes from Thursday:

High: Lance Lynn allowed one run in his three innings of work. When the Astros scored in the third, it was only the fourth earned run allowed by the Cardinals starters in a span of eight games, covering 23 innings. The other three runs came in the same game, off Mike Leake.

Low: Jordan Schafer, trying to win a spot as both a reliever and an extra outfielder, struggled with his control, failing to record an out. He hit the first batter he faced in the eighth, then threw a wild pitch before walking the next two hitters and then allowing an RBI single. He was charged with a second run when Sam Tuivailala relieved with the bases loaded and walked the first batter he faced before getting out of the jam.

At the plate: Other than Carpenter’s bunt single, the Cardinals were held to singles by Magneuris Sierra, Paul DeJong and Anthony Garcia …Stephen Piscotty, just 2-for-16 for the spring coming into the game, was 0-for-2 but did hit a long fly to the warning track in left center.

On the mound: Lynn has now allowed two earned runs in nine innings so far this spring … Austin Gomber had an impressive three scoreless innings in relief. He did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out three.

In the clubhouse: Tyler Lyons, recovering from off-season k nee surgery, came through a live batting practice session fine, Matheny said, but will need more such outings before he is ready to pitch in a spring game … Trevor Rosenthal and Luke Weaver threw bullpen sessions on Thursday as they attempt to recover from minor injuries. Each hopes to be able to pitch in a game by early next week … With Korea eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, Seung Hwan Oh is expected back in camp the first part of next week … The Cardinals-Pirates game on Aug 20 as part of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., was officially announced by major league baseball. Matheny said he was on a team which fell one round shot of making it to Williamsport when he was a youth, with his team from Columbus, Ohio, losing to a team from Hagerstown, Md. “It was the only time I ever saw my Little League coach get kicked out of a game,” he said.

Up next: The Cardinals head south to West Palm Beach on Friday for another game against the Nationals. Mike Leake is scheduled to make the start.

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