JUPITER, Fla. -- In every competition there's a winner and a loser. In the competition of Joe Kelly vs Carlos Martinez for the 5th and final starting spot in the Cardinals rotation, Kelly was the victor.
That means Martinez came out on the other end, which means he's headed to the 8th inning.
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"I'm just going to take advantage of the opportunity (in the bullpen)," Martinez said through translator Luis Morales. "If they want me there I'm just going to take advantage of the opportunity to help the team.
"My job is basically to set up for (Trevor Rosenthal). I know that's a very important part of the game that I'm taking," Martinez said.
The results of this pitch-off don't exactly suggest this was every really a true competition. Kelly finished spring with a 6.28 ERA compared to Martinez's 1.76. The field staff, including manager Mike Matheny, just truly wanted to start off the season the same way they finished 2013 with Kelly in the rotation and Martinez in the bullpen.
Down the line things could change. By June or July when Jason Motte is much closer to his regular form there may not be as much of a need in the back end of the bullpen. Plus, at that point, Martinez's innings could be held in check enough where they could then move him back into the rotation and not have to worry about his arm.
Things are fluid at this point but it's clear the Cardinals will start the season the same way they finished 2013.