Carlos Martinez Strong for St. Louis Cardinals


One of the big questions heading into spring training was which role the St. Louis Cardinals would use Carlos Martinez in this year.

Would Martinez be a starting pitcher or would he appear in a relief role?

It may be just one start, and it was just the first game of the exhibition season, but Martinez looks like he could be a viable fifth-starter candidate behind Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia.

What was really nice about Martinez’s two perfect innings was that he threw 21 of his 28 pitches for strikes and looked dynamite against a Miami Marlins team that is supposed to be much improved in the National League East.

“That’s basically my main focus right now, to focus on the strike zone and go pitch by pitch,” Martinez told Fox Sports through an interpreter following the game.

With three strikeouts in six batters faced, Martinez looked strong. But is it strong enough to overcome the odds and win the fifth starter job?

Everyone wants Martinez to do well, whether it is in a relief role or a starting role on the mound. If Martinez can cement the fifth rotation spot, the Cardinals will look strong from top to bottom barring any injuries. This reduces the likelihood St. Louis will have to seek a trade and add tons of payroll before the season even begins.

The temptation is there for management to leave Martinez in the bullpen. Shelby Miller is gone to the Atlanta Braves and Pat Neshek also left via free agency.

Based on what happens in his next couple outings, Martinez might have an inside track. And this might not be a bad thing.