The Cardinals traveled south to face the Baltimore Orioles in Ft. Lauderdale today. The game comes after a rare off day, where manager Tony La Russa whittled his roster down to maintain only a couple of question marks. With the final outfield spot merely a technicality, only one spot on the 25-man roster isn’t accounted for. The final right-handed relief role remains a competition between Kelvin Jimenez, Cliff Politte, Chris Perez, and Kyle McClellan.
Brad Thompson got his first career Grapefruit League start today, going four innings, and allowing two runs on three hits with two strike outs. The Cards provided plenty of offense for Thompson, finishing the game with 12 runs on 15 hits. Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols put notions of an injured elbow to rest with a productive day at the plate, including a two-run homer in the first, a hit-by-pitch in the second, and an RBI single in the third.
Other highlights include scoreless innings from both Jason Isringhausen and Ryan Franklin. Leadoff candidate Skip Schumaker continued to make his case, going 3 for 6, with 3 runs scored. Although I’ve been enjoying ripping on the Cardinals’ new shortstop Cesar Izturis lately, he did manage to go 2 for 4, with a stolen base and 2 runs scored today. No errors from Cesar today either. What should I bitch about? The Cards won 12-3. Here’s the box score.
It appears Izturis is the starter, regardless of how poorly he performs (or how well Brendan Ryan performs). According to Derrick Goold, Tony La Russa has named Izturis the Opening Day starting shortstop. Read the full story here.
The Cards are back at Roger Dean tomorrow. Braden Looper gets the ball, as he tries to get back on track against the Marlins.