Cardinals spring training report for Sunday March 4

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. - Manager Mike Matheny had a couple of things he was wishing for after the Cardinals’ 4-1 loss Sunday to the Houston Astros.

On a day when the wind was blowing 18 miles an out to right field, Jose Altuve got a ball up in the air off Michael Wacha which carried out of the ballpark, just the latest time that has happened.

Matheny noted the Cardinals have yet to hit one of those wind-aided homers, perhaps because one of their leading left-handed hitters, Matt Carpenter, has not been medically cleared to play because of a sore back, missing the team’s first 10 games.

“He took the resin bag out today, that was encouraging,” Matheny said. “He took the lineup card out the other day because he wanted to meet Paul Molitor.”

Seriously, Matheny said Carpenter is making progress and he still projects him being ready for game action by the middle of the month, giving him a couple of weeks to get ready for the start of the regular season.

Other news and notes from Sunday:

High: One of the surprise players in camp, Yairo Munoz, started at third base and had two more hits, one a double, as he raised his spring average to .360.

Low: The Cardinals were just 1-of-11 with runners in scoring position as they lost their third consecutive game.

At the plate: Munoz and Harrison Bader, who also had two hits and the only RBI, combined for four of the team’s seven hits. Bader raised his spring average to .348 as he tries to lock up the fourth outfielder spot on the roster … Kolten Wong had a hit and his fourth stolen base of the spring. He has been on base only five times on two hits, a hit by pitch and also reached on two errors … Marcell Ozuna, starting in left field for the first time, doubled in three at-bats … The team’s only other hit was a single by Edmundo Sosa.

On the mound: Wacha worked three innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out one … Josh Lucas continued his impressive spring with a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings this spring … Dakota Hudson allowed three hits and three walks over 1 2/3 innings but pitched out of a bases-loaded jam that kept more Houston runs from scoring.

In the clubhouse: The Cardinals sent six players back to the minor league camp following Sunday’s game – pitchers Daniel Poncedeleon, Jake Woodford, Hector Mendoza and Jordan Schafer and catchers Jeremy Martinez and Dennis Ortega … Matheny said Schafer is going to take a couple of days to decide if he wants to continue trying to pitch after playing as an outfielder until the last couple of years … Monday is reporting day for the minor league pitchers and catchers, with their first workout scheduled for Tuesday … In addition, infielder Max Schrock, who suffered an oblique injury on the first day of camp, was reassigned to the rehab unit and pitcher Arturo Reyes, who had been working out in the rehab program, will be coming back to the spring roster.

Up next: The Cardinals will host the Washington Nationals on Monday in Jupiter, with Luke Weaver set to make his second start of the spring.

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The Jupiter Minute with Rob Rains 3-4-18