JUPITER, FL. (KMOV.com) -- Grapefruit League play is finally underway for the Cardinals, who open their official spring schedule against the Marlins Thursday.
A day after an exhibition game with Florida Atlantic University and 28 days until the season officially starts in Pittsburgh, Tyler Lyons will take the mound at Roger Dean Stadium.
Lyons, a lefty, is out of options and is competing for a spot in the team’s bullpen this season. He will be followed by a handful of names headlined by closer Trevor Rosenthal. Veteran reliever Jonathan Broxton is also scheduled to throw, along with a handful of minor leaguers.
The batting order features a number of familiar names, with Tommy Pham, Matt Carpenter, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Adams and Brandon Moss all penciled in to start.
Here is the full lineup:
Mike Matheny said before Wednesday’s game he plans to shuffle the lineup regularly this spring, trying to get a good sense of what construction works best.
“We’ll be doing it all spring. Different guys plugging in. I think everybody else will put a whole lot more emphasis on it than probably what’s necessary. We just want to see what it looks like. Throw guys in different spots, use some of the things they’ve been working on and see if it fits,” he said. "I don't have this idea that it has to look like this, or this guy needs to be moved somewhere else. Put them out there. Put them in different spots. See how it looks. See how they respond. See how it comes together."
That includes Carpenter, who has been the team’s leadoff man for much of the past three seasons and Matt Holliday, who has been cemented as the three hitter since 2012. Kolten Wong made a point of campaigning for the leadoff man during the Winter Warm Up, and will likely get work there this spring. As for a different three hitter (not to suggest the team is actively seeking to replace Holliday, just mulling the options), several bats profile well for the spot. Randal Grichuk’s power makes him a natural fit, and Stephen Piscotty and Matt Carpenter’s pop/discipline combination are also intriguing. And let’s not forget who’s on first.
Though this camp is far less dramatic than in years past, Grapefruit League games will sort out a few things for St. Louis. The primary question to be answered is who emerges as the leader at first base. Both Adams and Moss are coming off disappointing seasons, Adams having lost the year to a quad tear and Moss being unable to return to his fearsome power-hitting form after a 2014 hip surgery. Offensive production will be the determining factor in determining who takes the position, and both are eager to reassert themselves at the plate.
As for upcoming schedule news, the team heads to Kissimmee Friday to play the Astros. Jaime Garcia will get the start on the road, with Seth Maness, Jordan Walden and Sam Tuivailala all scheduled to throw.
Saturday, Marco Gonzales is set to start when the team returns to Jupiter to play Miami.