(BaseballStL) -- Monday isn't Carlos Martinez's first major league start, but it has a palpable hyde surrounding the possibly outcome.
Martinez made his first MLB start on August 8, 2013, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He gave up four runs - three coming on a homer from AJ Ellis - and went just 4.2 innings.
With Adam Wainwright day-to-day with elbow tendinitis, the Cardinals are presenting the 22-year-old a chance to prove his meddle as a starter.
"What this is, is an opportunity," manager Mike Matheny stated prior to Monday's game, "[It's] one of those things we mentioned to him back in Spring Training. We had him prepare and figured that there be a time at some point this season where he would have that opportunity."
In his last few outings, Martinez has given up two runs in 4.0 innings pitched and the Redbirds lost all three of those games. But Matheny believes the staff has gotten better at being able to recognize when the young Dominican player is struggling.
"I think we've been able to tell fast when he needs to get out," he said, "The last couple of time out he's been better. I thought his secondary stuff last time out was very good."
Matheny said the coaching staff has an idea on how far they will let Martinez go into the game, but how hard he works on the mound or how the ball his coming out of his hand, will factor into his decision.
But Matheny has left no doubt on how talented he thinks Martinez is.
"You watch his adaptability," he continued, "I think that's one of the greatest things about this kid. He learns pitches quickly. He makes adjustments quickly. He wants to be a starting pitcher."
And the Cardinals have a log jam of players who every Spring Training want to be considered for a starting position, Kevin Siegrist and Trevor Rosenthal among them. The Cards also expect to get Joe Kelly back from injury soon. It's a tough decision, but certainly not a problem by Matheny's standards.
"You have to stick with the plan, which is what's best for our club," Matheny said, "They realize they have to do what's best for our team right now.
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