Spot secured, Martinez makes statement

Lackey tosses six scoreless in Minors game

Spot secured, Martinez makes statement

PORT ST. LUCIE -- Perhaps it was that he knew he had already secured a rotation job or simply that he had done all the fine-tuning in his previous five Grapefruit League appearances, but Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez wrapped up his spring looking his sharpest yet.

While twirling six shutout innings on 82 pitches, Martinez displayed his expanded pitch repertoire, an ability to tap into his gregarious pitching personality without compromising command, and improved efficiency. All three had been on his Florida to-do list.

"He was in a really good place today," manager Mike Matheny said afterward. "This was one of those that you just hope they put away and remember whatever it takes to get you back there. That was a good rhythm. That was a good mound presence. That was good preparation. Everything he did, let's repeat it."

Martinez struck out the first three batters he faced and fanned All-Star David Wright three times in all, twice on a slider and once on a changeup. Martinez has been working to develop that changeup all spring and said after his Wednesday start that, "it was my best pitch today."

According to Fangraphs.com, only 8.9 percent of Martinez's big league pitches have been changeups. As he now assumes a starting role, that will change.

"I don't know if he didn't need it [pitching out of the bullpen], but he didn't know he had it," Matheny said. "You're going to see guys three times through [the lineup], you better have a pretty good repertoire of pitches to be able to show them something different."

Added Martinez: "I think it's one of my best pitches, the way I feel right now."

Other news and notes from the day:

• Right-hander John Lackey threw six scoreless innings in a Minor League game on Wednesday, his final tune-up of the spring. Matheny said that he heard Lackey was "very good, very sharp." Lackey will start the Cardinals' third game of the regular season.

• Lefty Jaime Garcia underwent range-of-motion tests on Tuesday and has been prescribed a rehab program in which he will work to strengthen his surgically repaired left shoulder. Matheny was unsure when Garcia may resume throwing. Garcia, who alerted the Cardinals to soreness in his shoulder on Saturday, will remain in Florida to participate in extended Spring Training as the rest of the team heads north.

• Milwaukee announced plans to induct Hall-of-Famer Red Schoendienst into its Braves Honor Roll next Thursday during a ceremony at Miller Park. Schoendienst, who had a 19-year Major League career, played parts of four seasons with Milwaukee. He went there as part of a midseason trade in 1957 and helped lead the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series title that year.

Schoendienst, who has been absent from Spring Training due to medical issues, will not be able to attend the induction ceremony.

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.