Matheny names pitchers for first three Grapefruit games

After day off, Martinez, Gonzales, Garcia will open Cards' spring slate

Matheny names pitchers for first three Grapefruit games

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny outlined his pitching alignment for the first three games of the Grapefruit League season and said he was giving his club a well-deserved day off on Wednesday. Their Grapefruit League schedule begins on Thursday against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

As Matheny previously stated, Carlos Martinez will get the start on Thursday, but Matheny shifted gears and will have Tim Cooney follow him in. It was originally supposed to be Tyler Lyons.

"There are no issues," Matheny said on Tuesday as his club worked out. "We just wanted to give Tyler those extra days of rest."

Lyons will now follow Marco Gonzales on Friday in Jupiter against the Astros. Jaime Garcia is slated to pitch Saturday against the Nationals at Space Coast Stadium up the coast in Viera, Fla.

"These are some young guys who need to throw," Matheny said.

In lieu of an intrasquad game, Matheny had the team take part in a fundamental drill called "27 outs" after the regular workout on Tuesday.

"We always talk about being more efficient," Matheny said. "We can reload real fast, get them into a different situation. So we shout [that situation] out, place runners wherever we want and try to get more repetitions in. Just put together all the team fundamentals we've been working on and make sure we've got that all covered before we start the games."

As far as the day off is concerned, Matheny said that was pretty much built into the schedule and was an incentive to the players "to show a lot of life" in the drill.

"[The staff] will peek in [on Wednesday] just in case," Matheny said. "Just in case somebody needs to throw or needs something else, we'll have somebody around. For the most part, I want everybody to take a day. That's part of the reward, too. It's not only how hard they work, but we make these guys show up early. We had extra days of work before [Spring Training] officially started. This is something we need to capitalize on and get ready to play the games."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.