Holliday drives in two to rally Cardinals

Outfielder helps dig St. Louis out of early hole vs. Nats; Wacha goes five innings

Holliday drives in two to rally Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Matt Holliday's two-out, two-run single off Nationals reliever Xavier Cedeno finished the Cardinals' climb out of an early two-run hole and lifted St. Louis to a 6-2 win at Roger Dean Stadium on Monday.

Facing the Cardinals for the fourth and final time this spring, the Nationals jumped on Cardinals starter Michael Wacha for runs in both the second and third. Leadoff doubles by Ian Stewart and Dan Uggla set up each of those run-scoring innings.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. 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.

Cardinals name Martinez fifth starter

St. Louis picks righty over lefty Gonzales, who will start season in Triple-A

Cardinals name Martinez fifth starter

JUPITER, Fla. -- After two seasons of proving himself in the bullpen, a winter of healing from the loss of a best friend and a spring in which he watched Jaime Garcia temporarily leapfrog him in the rotation competition, Carlos Martinez received the news he's been waiting a lifetime to receive.

Speaking to Martinez in Spanish, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny informed the 23-year-old righty on Monday that he will open the season as the team's fifth starter. It was news to which Martinez responded, "That's my dream."

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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.

Several players catching Matheny's eye at camp

Manager expects Cards to face stiff competition in National League Central

Several players catching Matheny's eye at camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- With most of Spring Training in the rearview mirror and the start of the regular season quickly approaching, manager Mike Matheny visited with MLB.com to discuss a variety of team topics. To watch the full interview, click on the video link. Below are some of the highlights.

MLB.com: Which players caught your eye this spring in terms of spring performance or overall improvement?

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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.

Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

10-year-old with rare condition visits camp; he was an honorary coach for State College last year

Viera a constant inspiration for Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outside his grandson's hospital room, Dave Bohner knew nothing except that he needed to pray.

On the second floor of the Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania, 1-year-old Josiah Viera was fading. His life had already been a perpetual fight of regular surgeries and an exhausting search for a diagnosis. When one finally came, it offered no solution and little hope. At best, Josiah might live another decade. At this moment, it seemed he'd likely not make it another day.

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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.

Villanueva lands role in Cardinals' bullpen

Right-hander could be used as long man, in short stints or as a spot starter

Villanueva lands role in Cardinals' bullpen

JUPITER, Fla. -- Pressed to make a decision before Carlos Villanueva would, the Cardinals informed the veteran right-hander on Monday that they have a spot for him in their Opening Day bullpen. In doing so, the Cards have all but determined the seven relievers who will open the season with St. Louis.

That bullpen will feature five right-handers -- Trevor Rosenthal, Jordan Walden, Seth Maness, Matt Belisle and Villanueva -- as well as lefties Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist. With the seven spots filled, the Cardinals will send the starter who doesn't win the final rotation spot, either Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzales, down to Triple-A.

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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.

Wong sees positives despite down spring

Cardinals second baseman focused on getting swing ready for Opening Day

Wong sees positives despite down spring

JUPITER, Fla. -- In one of his better games of the spring, second baseman Kolten Wong drew two walks and scored a run in the Cardinals' 6-2 win against the Nationals on Monday. The fact that such a performance is notable is indicative of the tough time Wong has had in Grapefruit League play.

With three spring games remaining, Wong is 5-for-36 with two doubles. He opened the spring season hitless in his first nine at-bats, similar to the slow start (0-for-10) he endured a year ago. This year, though, Wong said he is much more focused on the process than the lack of results.

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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.

Gonzales, Heyward set pace for Cardinals

Starter continues stellar spring with strong 4 2/3 innings

Gonzales, Heyward set pace for Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Infielder Matt Reynolds, who is making a final push for a spot on the Mets' bench, singled and scored the go-ahead run during the sixth inning of New York's 3-2 victory over the Cardinals on Sunday.

Reynolds opened the inning with a hit off Cardinals reliever Seth Maness and moved to third on an Anthony Recker double. He then scored on a fielder's choice to push the Mets toward their Grapefruit League-best 16th win.

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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.

Arm fatigue to keep Garcia off Opening Day roster

Visit with team physician reveals no new injury

Arm fatigue to keep Garcia off Opening Day roster

JUPITER, Fla. -- A Sunday morning visit with a team physician revealed no new injury for Jaime Garcia, but rather confirmed that the left-hander had trouble recovering from an 80-pitch simulated game on Tuesday.

Garcia, speaking a day after the club announced he'd be scratched from his next scheduled spring start, said he has been feeling left arm soreness and fatigue over the last few days, including during a side session on Thursday. When the discomfort didn't subside, Garcia alerted the Cardinals' medical staff.

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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.

Cards trim roster, send 4 to Minors

Cards trim roster, send 4 to Minors

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals whittled down their list of bench candidates by reassigning four position players from Major League camp following Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Mets.

Catcher Ed Easley, infielder Dean Anna and first baseman Xavier Scruggs were optioned to Triple-A, while infielder Jacob Wilson, a non-roster invitee, was reassigned to the Minors. He, too, is expected to begin the season with Memphis.

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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.

Gonzales' landing spot now out of his hands

Following a stellar spring, left-hander awaits club's decision

Gonzales' landing spot now out of his hands

JUPITER, Fla. -- With Sunday marking his final appearance of the Grapefruit League season, left-hander Marco Gonzales is now left to wait and see how the Cardinals' pitching plans come together and where he falls in that mix.

Even with Opening Night just a week away, manager Mike Matheny said the organization is still weighing the possibility of Gonzales filling any one of three roles -- a starter in the Major League rotation, a reliever in the Major League bullpen or a starter in the Triple-A rotation -- in April.

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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.

Cardinals weigh Opening Day roster flexibility

Three off-days over first 10 gives Matheny options

Cardinals weigh Opening Day roster flexibility

JUPITER, Fla. -- Seven days out from an Opening Night matchup against the Cubs, the Cardinals continue to weigh the various ways in which they could construct their roster because of the flexibility offered by a high concentration of early-season off-days.

Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the club is still discussing three possibilities. One is that they carry a fifth starter, even though the club doesn't have to use that starter until April 19. Taking one anyway would allow the Cardinals to build in extra rest for their other four starters and would leave them with the usual five bench players and seven relievers. The fifth rotation spot would be claimed by either Carlos Martinez or Marco Gonzales.

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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.

Challenge for Choate is getting in work vs. lefties

Cards to start scripting chances for reliever on back fields

Challenge for Choate is getting in work vs. lefties

JUPITER, Fla. -- Knowing they'll be deploying reliever Randy Choate primarily against left-handed batters this season, the Cardinals are about to get creative so that he can face a flurry of them to finish spring.

It's been a challenge to script those matchups recently, as opposing managers have often utilized their limitless spring rosters to pinch-hit for any lefty batters that Choate has been scheduled to face. As a result, the Cardinals intend to start scripting some opportunities for Choate to face a line of lefties on a practice field. Manager Mike Matheny said that will likely start as early as Monday.

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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.

Solid Lynn holds Tigers' lineup in check

Righty strikes out five, walks none in five innings vs. Detroit

Solid Lynn holds Tigers' lineup in check

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run in as many games before Alex Avila's game-tying solo homer and Jordan Lennerton's go-ahead double led the Tigers to a 4-3 win over the Cardinals Saturday afternoon at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Cabrera continues to swing with little if any rust from an offseason of rehab from foot surgery. After hitting a line-drive home run two days earlier and taking Friday off, Cabrera came back Saturday and lofted an opposite-field shot that the wind carried to the batting cage building beyond right field.

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Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lynn battles elements in second spring start

Lefty adjusts, looks sharp against Tigers

Lynn battles elements in second spring start

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Despite needing 40-plus pitches to navigate through his first two innings, Lance Lynn looked sharp against a fairly formidable Tigers lineup in his second start of the spring and ended up finishing five innings with a pitch count of 81.

Lynn's biggest foe may have been the wind gusting out to right field. It carried what looked to be a routine fly ball off Miguel Cabrera's bat over the wall for a two-run homer in the first.

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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.

Freeman trade starts to bring clarity to Cards' bullpen

With no Minor League options remaining, Cardinals send lefty to Rangers

Freeman trade starts to bring clarity to Cards' bullpen

LAKELAND, Fla. -- His roster status complicated by being an out-of-options player, lefty Sam Freeman, a 32nd-round draftee of the Cardinals in 2008, was traded to the Rangers on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later.

The move, while offering Freeman the chance to be on an Opening Day roster for the first time, also begins to clarify the Cardinals' own bullpen picture. Finding a trade partner for Freeman became necessary once the club decided it would carry lefties Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist in its 'pen.

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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.

Cardinals HOF candidacy brings back fond memories for Morris

Now removed from baseball, former righty's 22-win season was highlight of successful career

Cardinals HOF candidacy brings back fond memories for Morris

This is the fourth in a series of stories profiling the eight modern candidates on the Cardinals' 2015 Hall of Fame ballot.

More than 700 miles from the nearest Major League Baseball city, in Big Sky, Mont., lives Matt Morris.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

Right-hander helps split Cardinals squad edge Mets with 84-pitch gem

Ortega's homers back Lackey's seven strong

JUPITER, Fla. -- Starters Matt Harvey and John Lackey each looked sharp in their penultimate starts of Grapefruit League play on Friday, though it was the Cardinals who came away with a 5-4 split-squad victory.

Efficiency allowed Lackey, in his third start of the spring, to become the first Cardinals pitcher this spring to cover seven innings in a Grapefruit League outing. He scattered six hits and didn't allow the Mets to advance a runner past second until the seventh, when New York used back-to-back hits by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Michael Cuddyer to foil the shutout bid.

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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.

Martinez cuts ERA in latest bid for Cards' rotation

Wong plates St. Louis' only run with fourth-inning groundout

Martinez cuts ERA in latest bid for Cards' rotation

VIERA, Fla -- Backing up much of the hype surrounding their pitching staff, the Nationals have continued to turn in stellar outing after stellar outing this spring. The latest came on Friday courtesy of right-hander Jordan Zimmmermann, who is on pace to be the team's No. 2 starter this season.

Zimmermann surrendered one run on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings during a 1-1 tie with a split Cardinals squad. Zimmermann saw his Grapefruit League ERA rise incrementally to 1.37.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lackey virtually ready for season after gem

Seven-inning, 84-pitch start against Mets leaves right-hander confident

Lackey virtually ready for season after gem

JUPITER, Fla. -- After using his first two spring starts to focus on specific pitches, John Lackey met with catcher Yadier Molina on Friday morning, asking him to call the game as he would in the regular season.

What followed was a seven-inning performance from Lackey that the Cardinals would certainly take in such a setting.

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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.

Ortega finds power stroke in breakout for Cards

Lackey mum on reason for scant swings during at-bats; Bourjos tallies pair of hits

Ortega finds power stroke in breakout for Cards

JUPITER, Fla. -- Outfielder Rafael Ortega went 2-for-22 in Grapefruit League play before the Cardinals sent him out to Minor League camp as part of their most recent wave of cuts on Monday. He returned on Friday and made the impression that he probably wished he could have made sooner.

With a two-homer game, Ortega produced four of the runs in the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Mets. He provided that production, too, despite not entering the game until the sixth inning. His second homer elicited a curtain call at Roger Dean Stadium.

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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.

Regardless of role, Martinez pleased with progress

In competition for Cardinals' final rotation spot, righty shuts down Nationals

Regardless of role, Martinez pleased with progress

VIERA, Fla -- If Friday was indeed the final chance for Carlos Martinez to make his case to the Cardinals that he should earn the final spot in their rotation, the right-hander went out with a flourish, closing with what he considered his best outing of the spring.

Martinez limited the Nationals to five hits and one run over five innings, striking out six and walking two, during Friday's 1-1 tie at Space Coast Stadium.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

Son of respected skipper fills in for manager Matheny on split-squad afternoon

Bell has right DNA to thrive as Cards' bench coach

JUPITER, Fla. -- With manager Mike Matheny accompanying half the club to Viera, Fla., for the road portion of Friday's split-squad day, bench coach David Bell slid into the manager's seat for the home game against the Mets. Given his own coaching climb and bloodlines, it's an undertaking that suited Bell well.

Bell's father, Buddy, managed parts of nine seasons in the Majors, making stops with the Tigers, Rockies and Royals. David Bell was a Major League player through most of that stretch before transitioning into his own career in coaching. He managed four seasons in the Reds' farm system, then joined his first Major League coaching staff in 2013.

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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.

Indoor session proves more productive for Wainwright

Ace struggles with command vs. Fish, but 'was driving the ball' for first time on covered mound

Indoor session proves more productive for Wainwright

JUPITER, Fla. -- Adam Wainwright had very specific goals going into his penultimate start of the spring on Thursday. And he left the complex confident he had accomplished them -- even if it had happened mostly outside the public eye.

Prioritizing command of his fastball and changeup, Wainwright threw 65 pitches over 3 2/3 innings against the Marlins before a rainstorm halted his day. Needing to throw a few more to hit his desired pitch count, Wainwright retreated to the covered batting cages to continue his work.

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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.

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

Much-anticipated power arrives for Heyward

JUPITER, Fla. -- Hours after his manager laughed off concern about Jason Heyward not yet having registered an extra-base hit this spring, the right fielder blasted his first -- all the way onto the porch of the team complex beyond the right-field wall.

It was a show of power that the Cardinals have been waiting to see, but one they also knew would come. Heyward did actually connect for an extra-base hit before Thursday, but it was erased from the stat sheet when rain kept Monday's game from becoming official.

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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.

Heyward ends drought, while Waino a bit shaky

Slugger homers for first extra-base hit; ace allows four runs before delay in loss to Fish

Heyward ends drought, while Waino a bit shaky

JUPITER, Fla. -- Giancarlo Stanton blasted a home run and tacked on an RBI double on Thursday as the Marlins edged the Cardinals, 5-3, at Roger Dean Stadium. The Miami slugger connected for the second time this spring, unloading a mammoth drive off Adam Wainwright in the first inning.

Jason Heyward responded in the bottom of the frame with a big blast of his own, putting the Cardinals on the board against Henderson Alvarez. The shot to right was Heyward's first extra-base hit in Grapefruit League play.

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Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. 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.

Holliday downplays age, seeks better start to season

Veteran, 35, points to lack of timing, comfort at plate as reason for first-half struggles in '14

Holliday downplays age, seeks better start to season

JUPITER, Fla. -- As left fielder Matt Holliday prepares for his sixth full season with the Cardinals, he's seeking to fend off the often decreasing production that comes with increasing age.

Holliday, now entering his age-35 season, is statistically coming off the worst offensive season of his 11-year career. His 2014 batting average (.272), slugging percentage (.441) and OPS (.811) were the lowest in his career. His on-base percentage (.370) and home run total (20) were his worst since 2005.

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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.

Wacha sets tone with stingy start before Cards win late

Starter tosses 5 2/3 strong innings; Walden's stellar save preserve's Kelly's decisive SF

Wacha sets tone with stingy start before Cards win late

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha and Nationals Opening Day starter Max Scherzer were engaged in a terrific pitchers' duel to start Wednesday's matchup at Roger Dean Stadium, before the Cards broke through in the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory.

Nats reliever Aaron Barrett began the inning by hitting Kolten Wong with a pitch, and pinch-runner Charlie Tilson stole second base after Wong was removed. Barrett then uncorked a wild pitch, advancing Tilson to third, and Ty Kelly drove him home with a sacrifice fly. After Barrett exited, Rafael Martin struck out Stephen Piscotty with the bases loaded to end the damage.

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Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. 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.

Shannon shares his take on Cards' expectations

Entering 44th season in booth, radio voice likes what he sees from Gonzales, Heyward

Shannon shares his take on Cards' expectations

JUPITER, Fla. -- With the start of the regular season quickly approaching, MLB.com sat down alongside broadcaster Mike Shannon, who is about to begin his 44th season in the Cardinals' radio booth. Shannon's connection to the organization actually dates further back than that, too, as the St. Louis native began his nine-year Cardinals playing career in 1962.

Shannon, who has been watching the club throughout Spring Training, shared his thoughts on what he has seen over the past month and provided his take on what to expect in the year ahead. To see the interview in its entirety, view the video clip. Below are some highlights:

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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.