Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

Candidate for Cardinals' rotation will throw between 30-40 pitches

Martinez to start Grapefruit League opener

JUPITER, Fla. -- In mapping out their spring pitching schedule, the Cardinals have decided to give Carlos Martinez not just a long look, but also the first one, as Martinez pursues a job in the starting rotation.

Manager Mike Matheny announced that Martinez will start the team's Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins on Thursday (12:05 pm CT). Martinez will be capped at around 40 pitches, which the Cardinals hope is sufficient enough for the right-hander to finish two innings.

"I feel good," Martinez, speaking through a translator, said on Monday. "I'm concentrating on what I need to do and taking it like it's the last day of the World Series. I need to go out and perform. I'm going to keep focused and have the same mentality to do my best even though it's the first [start]. Every time I take the mound, I'm going to feel like it's the last one."

Martinez tuned up for the start by throwing two simulated innings against Cardinals hitters during Monday's workout.

"I felt good and the most important thing is that I was keeping my pitches in the strike zone," Martinez said of that session.

On Tuesday, Matheny announced that Marco Gonzales will start Friday and Jaime Garcia on Saturday. By starting Martinez on the first day, the Cardinals have the flexibility to get Martinez as many as six starts this spring.

Outlook: Martinez, RP, STL

Other newsworthy items from Monday's workout include:

• In addition to Martinez, 12 other Cardinals pitchers had their second "pitchers practice" of the spring. Those who threw to hitters included Lance Lynn, Gonzales, John Lackey, Carlos Villanueva, Lyons, Trevor Rosenthal, Sam Tuivailala, Jordan Walden, Mitch Harris, Sam Freeman, Marcus Hatley and Dean Kiekhefer.

• Prior to the workout, players rotated through various stations as part of their annual Photo Day obligation. Several media outlets use Photo Day to collect the headshots that they use throughout the season.

• Position players and pitchers spent the early portion of the workout together working on cutoff and relay plays. The Cardinals structure these early days in camp to allow for new defensive drills to be introduced almost daily.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.