Cardinals spring training report for Friday March 9

By Rob Rains

Miles Mikolas likely calmed a lot of fears among Cardinals fans with his performance on Friday night against the Astros in West Palm Beach, Fla.

After giving up a combined 10 runs in 4 2/3 innings in his first two starts of spring training after leaving Japan to sign with the Cardinals, Mikolas had by far his best outing, working four scoreless innings before the Astros rallied for a 4-2 victory.

Mikolas allowed four hits and two walks but recorded three strikeouts. He got two double-play grounders and worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

Other news and notes from Friday:

High: Mike Mayers continued his impressive spring with two perfect innings, striking out four of the six hitters he faced. In seven innings this spring Mayers has not allowed a run, given up only two hits and struck out nine.

Low: John Brebbia had his first rough outing of the spring, giving up all four of the Astros runs in just 2/3 of an inning. He had not given up a run in his first four innings this spring.

At the plate: The Cardinals only had two hits in five innings off Justin Verlander, one of them Paul DeJong’s first homer of the spring. The other hit was a single by Carson Kelly, who later drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly. Verlander struck out eight in his five innings of work … The team’s only other hits were singles by Marcell Ozuna and Edmundo Sosa … They only had one at-bat with a runner in scoring position.

On the mound:
The last pitcher of the night for the Cardinals was Bud Norris, his first game since he had to leave a start on March 1 because of a hamstring spasm. Norris had one strikeout in his 1-2-3 inning and remains a candidate to begin the season as the closer if Luke Gregerson is not recovered from his oblique injury.

In the clubhouse:
Tyler O’Neill, just cleared to play from his oblique injury, got the start but had to come out of the game early after injuring his right hamstring … Jordan Schafer has decided to continue his attempt to transition from outfielder to pitcher in the minor-league camp.

Up Next: Michael Wacha will get the start on Saturday against the Marlins in Jupiter. Brett Cecil also is scheduled to make his first official appearance of the spring.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains