By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. – It’s still to be determined what exact role Bud Norris will fill for the Cardinals this season, but on Friday it was that of a substitute starter.
Norris got the start against the Boston Red Sox in place of Carlos Martinez, who had to deal with a “personal” matter and pitched into the third inning, when he came out of the game for precautionary reasons after feeling a spasm in his left hamstring.
Norris said he actually felt the spasm in the first inning when he was covering first base, but stayed in the game until he felt it again, also covering first, in the third.
On a scale of 1 to 10, Norris described his concern about the injury at only a one or two and thought he would be ready to pitch when he is next called upon.
Norris gave up two home runs in the first inning, to Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis, the second of which was definitely helped by a strong wind blowing out to right field. He allowed four hits and five runs in his 2 1/3 innings of work and the Red Sox went on to earn a 9-6 victory.
Manager Mike Matheny’s son Tate, an outfielder in the Red Sox’ farm system, was brought along on the trip from Fort Myers and hit leadoff and played center field, walking three times.
Asked whether he was happy his son drew the three walks or upset that his pitchers issued the walks Matheny said, “Yeah, let’s go with that.”
Other news and notes from Friday:
High: It was a good day for outfielder Harrison Bader, who had three hits, including a pair of doubles, drove in a run and scored twice.
Low: Travis hit his second home run in the game, off Sean Gilmartin in the fifth, giving the Red Sox three homers on the day. Cardinals’ pitchers have now allowed 12 homers in their first eight games.
At the plate: Tommy Pham and Paul DeJong each had two hits and an RBI, as did minor league shortstop Edmundo Sosa. Pham had a triple and DeJong a double as they, Sosa and Bader combined for nine of the team’s 10 hits. The only other hit was a single from Patrick Wisdom.
On the mound: Gilmartin allowed three runs in 2 2/3 innings before John Brebbia, Derian Gonzalez and Sam Tuivailala all pitched a scoreless inning. Brebbia has allowed only one hit in three scoreless innings this spring while striking out six … Gonzalez, likely headed to Double A Springfield, also has not allowed a run in his three appearances, covering three innings.
In the clubhouse: The Cardinals would not comment on the specific nature of Martinez’s “personal” matter and Matheny said he was not certain if Martinez would be back in camp on Saturday. Before heaving on Friday he pitched a three-inning simulated game against minor-leaguers on one of the back fields … Matheny met before the game with executive Joe Torre to discuss the new rules on mound visits and other matters.
Up next: The Cardinals head back up the Florida Turnpike on Saturday to play the Braves in Orlando. Miles Mikolas is scheduled to make his second start of the spring.
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