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Postcard from Cardinals camp for Saturday, March 7

John Gant allowed just one infield hit, walked two and struck out three in four scoreless innings.
Credit: AP
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher John Gant delivers a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

JUPITER, Fla. — One of the Cardinals goals coming into spring training was to create as much competition as possible for roster spots.

Saturday’s game against the Astros offered multiple examples that they have accomplished that goal.

Two candidates for the starting rotation, who are probably behind other candidates – John Gant and Austin Gomber – allowed a combined one unearned run over seven innings in the victory.

An infielder trying to win a spot on the team but still likely behind other players as well, Edmundo Sosa, hit his second home run of the spring.

The other example was outfielder Lane Thomas – who probably is in line to make the team but is hoping to become a starter – showed off his speed by scoring from first on a double by Kolten Wong.

Here is how Saturday’s game broke down:

High: Gant allowed just one infield hit, walked two and struck out three in four scoreless innings.

Low: Matt Carpenter struck out three times and also committed a throwing error. Collectively the Cardinals struck out 15 times in the game.

At the plate: Wong doubled in two runs in a three-run fourth inning, which also included an RBI double from Matt Wieters … Wieters also drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder in the second and stole his first base of the spring … Sosa’s homer capped the Cardinals scoring … Tyler O’Neill struck out twice and drew a walk in his three plate appearances.

On the mound: The only hit off Gant was an infield single with one out in the fourth … Gomber, who had allowed one run combined in five innings in his first two appearances, allowed just one hit and walked one while striking out three in his three innings in relief … Tyler Webb and Giovanny Gallegos finished the game with scoreless innings. Webb has not allowed a run in his four innings this spring.

Munoz released: The Cardinals made a surprising announcement on Saturday that infielder Yairo Munoz had been released. John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, said the decision was made after Munoz failed to show up for a scheduled MRI last week and then left the team to fly home to the Dominican Republic without informing anybody of his plans other than a teammate, through a text message. Munoz had suffered a hamstring injury a few days earlier that appeared likely to take him out of the competition for a spot on the opening day roster. Mozeliak said he knew Munoz was frustrated last season because of a lack of playing time, but manager Mike Shildt said he thought adding a 26th man to the roster this year would have helped Munoz be used more often, had he made the team. “He decided to go home,” Shildt said. “I wish I had a better explanation.” Mozeliak also was equally uncertain about what happened to prompt Munoz to leave without telling the team. “He wasn’t happy here, he was frustrated with his use last year and didn’t like the writing he was seeing on the wall this year,” Mozeliak said. “The bottom line is he left the club. … it’s very odd.”

Roster Cuts: There were no other surprises among the 13 additional roster cuts on Saturday, the first of the spring. Pitcher Ricardo Sanchez and infielder Elehuris Montero were optioned to Memphis, and pitcher Alvaro Seijas, the only pitcher in camp who had not appeared in a game, was optioned to Palm Beach. Reassigned to the minor-league camp were non-roster pitchers Akeem Bostick, Nabil Crismatt, Seth Elledge, Alex FaGalde, Griffin Roberts, Angel Rondon and Ramon Santos; infielder Luken Baker and catchers Julio Rodriguez and Alexis Wilson. The moves left 57 players in camp.

Off the field: As the Cardinals await more results of tests on Andrew Miller’s right hand, Mozeliak said he is becoming more concerned that Miller will not have enough time to be ready to pitch before opening day and might have to open the season on the injured list … Infielder Brad Miller, who has missed the last several days because of soreness in his lower back, is probably two or three days away from being able to play, Shildt said.

Up next: Dakota Hudson is the scheduled starter on Sunday, when the Cardinals play the Miami Marlins. Genesis Cabrera, who had to come out of his last appearance early because of cracked fingernail, is scheduled to follow Hudson, who is expected to pitch five innings.


ST. LOUIS - The Cardinals now have one less player vying for a spot on the opening day roster. On Saturday, the club announced they had placed infielder Yairo Muñoz on unconditional release waivers.

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