Why Isn’t Martinez Starting??

(Jupiter, FL) Do not hit the panic button or look for a red flag. Carlos Martinez is fine. So is Adam Wainwright. It’s just the St. Louis Cardinals are making some adjustments to their rotation due to the scheduling of the Grapefruit League and regular season–which has them facing the New York Mets five times in the next 12 days.

Originally scheduled to start today against Washington, Martinez will instead through against hitters on the back fields. That could be the same scenario for Wainwright on Tuesday when New York comes in to face the Cardinals.

“We’re still up in the air on that,” said Mike Matheny. “We play the Mets three times here soon and then we start the season with them. As much as I’ve celebrated the scheduling and thought it was great, that part of it not so great. We’ll wait until we get a little closer, but that’s going to be an option for him also.”

John Gant will start today against the Nationals. Mike Maddux will oversee the outing for Martinez, which will stretch the right-hander out to 100 pitches.

“It’s what we’ve talked about before, making sure that it’s controlled to where they get a number of ups,” said Matheny. “That they’re in there facing guys and get to work on things and still reach that number of getting stretched out. Each starter is going to have that day and that opportunity to do it in a controlled setting, see the benefit. The second part is, it’s a team that we’re getting ready to face. So you hate to show them everything you’ve got before you’re getting ready to face them for real.”

Though he will not pitch in today’s game against Washington, Martinez could see some at-bats after he’s done with his work on the back fields. It’s part of the new strategy of pitchers getting more at-bats against live pitching.

“That’s going to be incorporated from now on,” said Matheny. “A lot of times we’ll go take some minor league guys, which is beneficial for them. Nice to throw them a bone and be able to take a look at them but I’d rather have our Major League pitchers getting those at-bats. I think it’s smart.”

CARP AT THIRD

–Today’s game also marks the first time this spring Matt Carpenter will be at third base and Jedd Gyorko slides over to second.

“It’s going to be a challenge here with a number of guys for a few positions,” said Matheny. “It’s part of the equation for how we’re going to get everybody work. Carp’s excited about it but we know that he could also play second if there was a necessity for that. Second, third, and first. Jedd’s pretty versatile as well. And Jose in the outfield, that’s going to have to be part of the conversation too.”

This will be just the fourth game of spring for Carpenter, who was held out to strengthen his back. He also used the time to alter his throwing delivery.

“Just trying to take some of the stress off my shoulder,” explained Carpenter. “I naturally have kind of an unorthodox style of throwing that can put a lot of strain on that joint, we’re just trying to eliminate some of that.”

“I thought he was abnormally high in his release,” said Matheny. “But each guy’s different–I was abnormally high. It was from football. They used to make me throw over top of, they had put things to simulate going over the top of your front line. So I think you just naturally develop those slots then they stick with you. I think that’s something he’s developed over time. Sometimes it’s avoiding a bad spot that you change that slot, been there too. Next thing you know, with so many repetitions you develop a habit that you didn’t even know you were developing.”

photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com

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