Cardinals spring training report for Sunday March 11

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – Perhaps the biggest developments in the Cardinals’ camp on Sunday occurred on field 1 of the Roger Dean complex, where both Matt Carpenter and Alex Reyes participated in a modified intrasquad game.

More important than just playing in the game, which had several Cardinals batting against pitchers in the major-league camp, was the fact that both Carpenter and Reyes reported they felt fine physically afterward.

For Carpenter, it was his first time doing more than taking batting practice or hitting in the cages. He had three at-bats, one each against Tyler Lyons, Ryan Sherriff and Arturo Reyes, drawing a walk against Lyons, grounding out against Sherriff and popping out to third against Reyes.

Carpenter has been out with a sore back, and there also is some concern about his right shoulder, which bothered him much of last season.

“I felt great, first day back, working on my timing,” Carpenter said. “Physically I’m great. We’ve been really careful. I could have been playing two weeks ago. My body feels great, ready to go.”

Carpenter is expected to serve as the DH for the Cardinals in their game on Tuesday against the Marlins. The Cardinals have 13 games left in Florida, plus two against the Blue Jays in Montreal, before the season opener in New York.

“Two weeks of at-bats out here every day, I’ll be ready to go,” Carpenter said. “This will be plenty. Today was a great first step.”

Reyes has thrown several live batting practice sessions as he recovers from Tommy John surgery but this was the first time he had fielders behind him. He faced five batters, allowing three singles and hitting Harrison Bader in the shoulder with a pitch, before taking a five-minute water break.

Reyes then returned to the mound and faced four more hitters, giving up a home run to Bader to right field.

“Just getting out there and getting the feel and throwing strikes,” Reyes said. “It was a live BP, and I had guys behind me, so that made it more game-like. Go out there and try to execute pitches.

“I’ve been throwing live BPs for about two weeks now so it’s important, no matter what it is. Feeling great, the ball is coming out great, I really couldn’t ask for more right now.”

The Cardinals are sticking with their projection that Reyes will be ready to join the bullpen around May 1.

Minor leaguers played in the field for the entire 90-minute game, with shortstop Delvin Perez making several outstanding plays.

During Sunday’s pre-season game in West Palm Beach, Jose Martinez and Paul DeJong each hit their second homers of the spring in a 4-3 win over the Nationals.

Other news and notes from Sunday:

Luke Weaver worked four perfect innings against the Nationals, striking out four. He has allowed one earned run in three starts this spring, covering nine innings.

Low: Marcell Ozuna was 0-of-4 and struck out three times. His average for the spring is now .143.

At the plate
: After getting about 10 at-bats in the intrasquad game, Tommy Pham had three more against the Nationals, collecting one hit … Martinez’s two-run homer came in the first inning while DeJong broke a 3-3 tie with his solo homer in the eighth … Yadier Molina contributed an RBI single … Dexter Fowler was 0-of-4, dropping his spring average to .136.

On the mound: Austin Gomber and Sean Gilmartin each allowed a home run after following Weaver to the mound … An error behind him and two walks loaded the bases while Gilmartin was on the mound, but Josh Lucas relieved and got a double-play grounder to get out of the inning … Dominic Leone pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth to record his third save.

In the clubhouse: Luke Gregerson has the biggest day planned of any of the Cardinals on Monday’s day off. He will be joining his former teammates on the Houston Astros as they visit the White House to celebrate their World Series victory last season. “I think it’s going to be a great experience and a tremendous honor to step foot in that building and meet the President,” Gregerson said. “I’m really looking forward to it.” … The Cardinals sent nine players to the minor-league camp following the game, including outfielder Tyler O’Neill, who has an injury-filled spring. Also sent out were pitchers Gomber, Derian Gonzalez, Conner Greene, Ryan Helsley, Dakota Hudson and Arturo Reyes and infielders Edmundo Sosa and Tommy Edman. There are 46 players left in camp.

Up next: After the day off Monday, the Cardinals will be the visiting team against the Marlins on Tuesday in Jupiter, with Carlos Martinez scheduled to make his third start of the spring.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains