Challenge Ahead for Munoz

There’s a lot to like about the Yairo Munoz story as he has put together a terrific spring and earned his spot on the Opening Day roster for the St. Louis Cardinals.

But before plans are made to add “34” to the outfield wall in Busch Stadium, don’t overlook this 23-year old is used to getting regular at-bats. Currently second on the Cardinals with 52 at-bats in the Grapefruit League, Munoz has averaged at least 3.8 at-bats per game his last four seasons in the minor leagues.

Combined from AA-AAA last season, Munoz had 479 plate appearances last and 565 the year before that. Barring injury, those at-bats will not be available in the utility role with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Staying sharp without regular playing time is tough for any player, but can be especially so for a rookie experiencing his first taste of the big leagues.

While no one is expecting him to continue his .365 pace at the plate into the regular season, it will be interesting to see what kind of performance Munoz can produce with limited at-bats.

–Speaking of at-bats, Matt Carpenter is now batting .500 (9-18). He also has five walks in his eight games to produce a .609 OBP. Perhaps just as noteworthy, Carpenter has scored eight runs–which includes one instance of going first to home.

–Amongst Cardinal hurlers with at least 10 innings pitched this spring, Josh Lucas (11.1) and Mike Mayers (11.0) are the only two pitchers to have not allowed any runs. Next on the list is Sam Tuivailala, who has blanked the opposition through 6.1 innings. Lucas was optioned to Memphis yesterday, Mayers is still battling for a bullpen spot. Tuivailala should be secure in that regard as besides performance, he is out of contract options.

–Major League Baseball has announced the 50-game suspension of minor League pitcher Matt Pearce. The 24-year old right-hander went a combined 14-8 last season between Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA). The suspension is without pay following a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

photo credit: Kim Klement, Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

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