Carlos Martinez is playing Winter Ball


St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez is playing some winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

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It certainly helps the pitcher as he prepares to enter the next season as a starting pitcher rather than as a reliever. However, for a while, Martinez was between a rock and a hard place as the organization preferred that the pitcher rest his arm a bit prior to the start of Spring Training in 2015.

According to Jenifer Langosch, Martinez and the Cardinals were able to reach an agreement.

"The two sides settled on a cap of 25 innings, which would cover between four and six Dominican Winter League starts, general manager John Mozeliak said."

In his first three starts, he didn’t walk a batter and struck out twelve hitters. Martinez allowed three runs on ten hits. Compared to his work in 23 2/3 innings last year in the Dominican Winter League, Martinez has improved on his statistics.

It’s not set in stone right now that Martinez ends up with the fifth starting spot although the odds are certainly in his favor. He will be facing competition from 2013 first round draft pick Marco Gonzales.

"“I think right now Carlos is pitching with a purpose,” Mozeliak said. “It’s not something where it’s simply to be a part of something that some of the local players around there feel like they have to do. He feels that obligation, but he’s doing this to prepare for Spring Training.”"

Dean Anna, Tommy Pham, Xavier Scruggs, Breyvic Valera, and Nick Greenwood are also playing winter ball during the offseason.