Cardinals manager Mike Matheny continued to hand out good news on Monday, giving 23-year-old Carlos Martinez the opportunity to start in the Cardinals rotation. Martinez beat out Jaime Garcia and Marco Gonzales for the fifth spot. He will join Wainwright, Wacha, Lynn and Lackey.
Earlier on Monday, Matheny announced he would start the season with five starting pitchers on the 25-man roster. His choices were made a little easier when doctors determined Garcia would need more time to rest and build strength from his surgery since he wasn’t recovering quick enough after an 80-pitch game last Tuesday and side session on Thursday. Garcia took the early lead in the race for the fifth spot after getting off to a great start in spring. Coming into camp, Martinez was the odds on favorite for the job.
Gonzales will will start the team’s exhibition game in Memphis on Friday and stay there to open the season in Triple-A. He’ll be the first call-up should the Cardinals need another starter.
Matheny on naming Martinez the starter (:45)
Martinez will make his final spring start on Wednesday and then his first regular season start will come April 11th against Cincinnati.
This is a great move by Matheny. Most clubs will go with four starters through much of April with extra days off built-in, but Wainwright and Wacha are coming back from injury and/or surgery and Lackey is no spring chicken. Had Matheny gone with four starters, Martinez wouldn’t have been needed until April 25th with the other four starters getting four starts before that date. Now, with Martinez in the mix right away, only each starter gets three starts in before that late series against Milwaukee.