JUPITER, Fla. – Competition for the fifth starters spot will apparently get going right away.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told reporters Wednesday morning that Trevor Rosenthal will start their spring training opener on Saturday against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.
Rosenthal is competing with Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. He’s expected to throw about 40 pitches or two innings. Prospect Michael Wacha will pitch next after him.
Asked about how he came to the decision to go with Rosenthal for the first game, Matheny said, “You guys know, it’s reverse engineering first and that’s going to lead to a question what are you reverse engineering and who is throwing which games and I’m going to at least make it a little challenging so you guys can do a crossword puzzle, but we just listed it out, the guys that are ready to go and where they need to be ready when the season starts and to just get a look at the young guys.”
Managers and pitching coaches typically align the starting rotation for the first week of the regular season and work backwards when planning their spring appearances.
Rosenthal went from Double-A straight to the big leagues last summer and posted a 2.78 ERA in 19 relief appearances. He was almost unhittable in the playoffs, giving up just two hit and striking out 15 in 8 2/3 innings.
Matheny wouldn’t commit to which regulars would be in the lineup for Saturday’s spring opener, saying he planned to push them the next few days in practice and wanted to wait and see how they responded.