Cardinals spring training report for Thursday March 8

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – The Cardinals like to use their spring training games to give a taste of the major leagues to some of their young prospects, and on Thursday, it was shortstop Delvin Perez’s turn to “jump the fence” and get the chance to play In the game against the Marlins.

The former first-round pick came into the game in the sixth inning and got one at-bat, fouling out to first base, as the Cardinals rallied from a 4-1 deficit for a 5-4 victory.

Perez, who spent last season splitting time between Johnson City and the Gulf Coast League, was allowed to remain in the one-run game in the ninth inning even though the Cardinals had a more experienced shortstop, Wilfredo Tovar, on the bench.

“I think that was a pretty strong statement for a young player,” said manager Mike Matheny. “We like to get some of our young players in there. He’s a long ways away, you can see that physically. He’s shown the organization he’s exceptional with the glove, but he’s got a lot of things he needs to work on.”

Bringing Perez over from the minor-league camp allowed him to participate in the pre-game drills and spend more time with Jose Oquendo, who worked with him the last two years in the minors.

It has not been determined where Perez, 19, will be assigned to begin the minor-league season in April.

Other news and notes from Thursday:

High: Jose Martinez hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, tying the game at 4-4. It was his first home run of the spring.

Pitching prospect Ryan Helsley struggled with his control in his one inning of work, walking three, but got out of the jam allowing only one run on a sacrifice fly.

At the plate: Young outfielders Randy Arozarena and Adolis Garcia continued their strong springs. Arozarena tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Garcia in the eighth for the winning run. Garcia also had a triple earlier in the game … Garcia is hitting .385 for the spring, Arozarena .340 … Yadier Molina also had an RBI double and walked in three plate appearances.

On the mound: Carlos Martinez had better control in his second start of the spring, working four innings and allowing one run. He gave up five hits, walked two and struck out four … Tyler Lyons worked two perfect innings, striking out two, while Dominic Leone earned his second save of the spring, pitching around one hit in the ninth thanks in part to a game-ending diving catch by Tyler O’Neill in left field.

In the clubhouse: Matheny said when Matt Carpenter is medically cleared to play, he will most likely concentrate on first base instead of also trying to play some at third and second, as had been planned. Matheny said there also is some concern with Carpenter’s right shoulder, which bothered him last year, and it will be easier for him to concentrate on first base. “He’s not far away,” Matheny said … Matheny also said he is not overly concerned about the oblique injury to potential closer Luke Gregerson and believes there is plenty of time for him to be ready by opening day … The Cardinals reassigned non-roster first baseman Rangel Ravelo to the minor-league camp.

Up next: The Cardinals will play their only night game of the spring on Friday, facing the Astros in West Palm Beach. Miles Mikolas will make his third start, trying to improve on his 19.29 ERA, having allowed 10 earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

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