Matheny sets Cardinals' rotation behind Wainwright

Matheny sets Cardinals' rotation behind Wainwright

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Having already announced Adam Wainwright's placement atop the rotation and Carlos Martinez's inclusion in the fifth spot, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny filled in the blanks between on Wednesday.

Wainwright will be followed, in order, by Lance Lynn and John Lackey in the season-opening three-game series against the Cubs. Michael Wacha will then take the mound to begin a series against the Reds on April 10. Martinez and Wainwright will also pitch in that three-game set.

The rotation order lines up so that Lynn, a 15-game winner a year ago, starts the home opener against the Brewers on April 13. It will be the first home-opening assignment of Lynn's career.

"It's not something that goes completely unnoticed," manager Mike Matheny said. "So I would say that it does have value, but just like the home opener, we could throw any of our guys in there and say this is a really good fit for the opener for X, Y or Z reason. And every one of the guys takes a lot of pride in whatever role they have."

Wainwright and Lynn will each make their first regular-season start on four days' rest. Lackey will have six days off, while Martinez (10) and Wacha (11) will each enjoy extended layoffs leading up to their season debuts. That's not by accident, either, as the Cardinals intend to monitor the workload of both pitchers closely this season. Finding them extra days off now could, the Cardinals hope, position them to stick in the rotation later.

Wacha will throw a pair of side sessions between his final spring appearance and first regular-season one. Martinez will likely do the same. Martinez will also be available out of the Cardinals' bullpen in the season opener.

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.