JUPITER, Fla. — The Brett Cecil watch moved to one of the back fields at the Cardinals’ spring training complex on Thursday, but the results were not any better than they have been in the main stadium.
Pitching against Cardinals’ minor-leaguers trying to make the Memphis roster, Cecil needed 26 pitches to get through an inning in which he walked one, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter.
Of his 26 pitches, 14 were balls, including the first pitch to five of the six hitters he faced. On the other at-bat, Cecil hit Edmundo Sosa with the first pitch.
Cecil had a 3-2 count on each of the first three hitters he faced. He ended up retiring Jose Godoy on a grounder to second; walked Conner Capel and retired Kramer Robertson on a pop out
Ramon Urias reached on an error by third baseman Nolan Gorman, on a 3-1 pitch, before Cecil hit Sosa to load the bases. He threw a wild pitch on his first pitch to Adolis Garcia, allowing a run to score, before Garcia flied to right to end the inning.
The performance did little to change the prevailing opinion that Cecil will not be part of the opening day roster.
He has only pitched two innings this spring in actual games, and even though he did not allow a run, the results were not positive.
There is still two years left on Cecil’s original four-year contract, and the team owes him about $15 million.
If Cecil has to go back on the injured list when the season begins, the battle to be the second left-hander in the bullpen behind Andrew Miller likely will be between Chasen Shreve and Tyler Webb.
Both have been effective this spring, although Shreve has given up a run in two of his five appearances. He has allowed only two hits but has issued four walks in 4 1/3 innings while recording only one strikeout.
Webb has made six appearances, covering six innings, and has allowed just two runs (one earned) on four hits. He has issued just one walk, in his first game of the spring, and has seven strikeouts.
Both Shreve and Webb are scheduled to pitch in Friday night’s game in West Palm Beach. It’s also possible the team could consider Austin Gomber for that role.
Complicating the decision is the fact that Shreve is out of options, as are two of the right-handed pitchers who could make the team as relievers, John Gant and Mike Mayers. It’s unlikely the team would want to have three relievers who are all out of options in their bullpen.
Here is how the game against the Mets broke down:
High: Harrison Bader reached base three times on two hits and a hit by pitch and stole three bases. According to the Cardinals and the Elias Sports Bureau, Bader is the first Cardinal with three stolen bases in a spring training game in the last 25 years.
Low: The Cardinals’ offense continued to struggle. They have scored a combined two runs in their last three games.
At the plate: The Cardinals had just four hits other than the two singles by Bader. Jose Martinez tripled in the seventh, and pinch-runner Dylan Carlson scored on a double by Yairo Munoz … Their other hits were singles by Rangel Ravelo and Drew Robinson … Robinson struck out in his other three at-bats … The team was just 1-of-10 with runners in scoring position.
On the mound: Michael Wacha allowed five hits and walked two in five innings but managed to keep the Mets from scoring, lowering his spring ERA to 1.93 … Dominic Leone and John Brebbia each worked a scoreless inning of relief, while the only Mets run came against Mayers, but he was able to limit the damage by pitching out a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth.
Off the field: John Gant pitched two scoreless innings against the minor leaguers in the intra-squad game … Former pitcher Chris Carpenter is back in camp for several days … The minor-leaguers will play intra-squad games on Friday before their spring schedule of games begins on Saturday.
Up next: The Cardinals will play two split-squad games against the Astros on Friday, both night games. Adam Wainwright will start in Jupiter, scheduled to be followed by Miller, Alex Reyes and Jordan Hicks. Daniel Ponce de Leon will start the game in West Palm Beach. The night game in Jupiter will be the first there for the Cardinals since March 13, 2009.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains