Martinez's work starting to pay dividends

Holliday, Wainwright, others announce return of Homers For Health

Martinez's work starting to pay dividends

JUPITER, Fla. -- Joking the day before that he would treat the game like a World Series one, Carlos Martinez took the mound on Thursday clearly pitching with purpose. Facing a Marlins lineup representative of the one they'll use on Opening Day, Martinez retired all six batters he faced, including three on strikeouts, and threw 22 of his 29 pitches for strikes in an eventual 4-1 St. Louis win.

"I saw a guy who looks like he's trying to win a job," manager Mike Matheny said of the pitcher considered the favorite to break camp as the team's fifth starter. "That was pretty good."

Martinez showcased his full repertoire of pitches, and demonstrated an ability to elevate his sinker at opportune times. He also threw six changeups, a pitch that Martinez has been working to improve.

"I felt good and I can see the work I'm putting into it," Martinez said, with Cardinals employee Luis Morales translating. "I can see that."

Here are some other items of note from the day:

• Lefty Tim Cooney pitched two innings on 19 pitches and drew praise from Matheny for a "real nice curveball." He picked off the only runner to reach against him.

• Lefty specialist Randy Choate has made a career of getting in and out of games quickly, often facing only one batter in an appearance. On Thursday, he faced seven over two innings. So why push a reliever who has four two-inning appearances since 2005 that long? Matheny wanted to take advantage of having Choate face a string of lefties in his second inning of work.

• Neither Jon Jay nor Randal Grichuk will appear in the team's early spring games. Grichuk had to miss several on-field workouts due to lower back soreness, though he has resumed full activity. He'll likely be cleared for game action in a few days. Jay, who underwent left wrist surgery over the winter, took batting practice on the field Thursday for the first time this spring.

• Matheny announced that the Cardinals scheduled a "B" game against the Marlins on March 13. The game will be played on one of the backfields at Roger Dean Stadium and will offer both teams the chance to use players in a more controlled environment. The Minor Leaguers participating in the organization's Spring Training Early Program will likely fill most of the B-game roster.

• Matheny indicated that shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Mark Reynolds will start against the Astros on Friday. Reynolds, who has been getting work at both corner-infield spots, is expected to make his Cardinals debut at first base.

Matt Holliday, Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Trevor Rosenthal held a joint news conference after Thursday's win to announce the return of the Homers For Health and Ks for Kids initiatives to benefit Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation.

Quotable: "That was one of the most impressive batting practices I've seen. He put five miles worth of balls away today." -- Matheny on Adams

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