Postcard from Cardinals camp for Wednesday, March 22

Weather: 81 degrees, sunny

Result: Cardinals 6, Nationals 1


JUPITER, Fla. – Carlos Martinez found out Wednesday morning that he will start the Cardinals’ season-opener on April 2 against the Cubs. He then went out and pitched like an ace.

Making his first start since returning from the World Baseball Classic, where he started two games for the Dominican Republic, Martinez worked five scoreless innings against the Nationals. He allowed just three hits, did not walk a batter and struck out three.

Martinez will have one start remaining in the spring before the first opening day assignment of his career. At 25, Martinez will be the youngest pitcher to start on opening day for the Cardinals since Joe Magrane made his second opening day start when he was 24 in 1989.

Manager Mike Matheny picked Martinez for the start over veteran Adam Wainwright, who had started the last four season openers for the Cardinals.

Matheny said it was, “a great reward for what he's done so far and what we see him doing in the future."

Martinez signed a five-year contract, plus two option years, before spring training began.

Other news and notes from Wednesday:

High:
Right-hander Dakota Hudson, one of the Cardinals’ top picks in last year’s draft, was brought over from the minor-league camp and made his big-league debut by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. The first two batters reached on an error and a single before Hudson got a double play grounder and another ground ball.

Low:
Randal Grichuk was 0-for-4 and struck out twice. He has struck out 13 times in 42 at-bats this spring.

At the plate:
Greg Garcia and Matt Carpenter were the offensive stars. Garcia had three extra-base hits – a triple and two doubles – drove in a run and scored twice. Carpenter drove in four runs, two with a triple, and with a single and sacrifice fly … Dexter Fowler, celebrating his birthday, also had an RBI single … Kolten Wong had a double and also walked and stole his first base of the spring, but also was picked off second.

On the mound:
The Nationals’ only run scored against Brett Cecil in the sixth, which raised his ERA for the spring to 12.60 … Jonathan Broxton and John Gant each worked a perfect inning, with Gant recording two strikeouts.

In the clubhouse:
Following the game the Cardinals optioned reliever Sam Tuivailala to Memphis. The move leaves 42 players in camp, including those who will be placed on the disabled list before the season begins.

Up next: Wainwright will make his next to last start of the spring on Thursday as the Cardinals play the Marlins.