Martinez ready to rejoin Cardinals after Classic

Dominican Republic ace pitched last on March 14

Martinez ready to rejoin Cardinals after Classic

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A 6-3 loss to Team USA on Saturday ended the Dominican Republic's attempt to repeat as World Baseball Classic champions. It also finalized Carlos Martinez's return to Cardinals camp.

Martinez was scheduled to fly back to Florida on Sunday and he is expected to rejoin the club on Monday, 13 days before the team's season opener. The Cardinals aren't ready to confirm when Martinez will make his next Grapefruit League appearance, but it will likely be soon, given that his last outing for the Dominican team came on March 14.

With Mike Leake set to start on Monday and the team off on Tuesday, Martinez won't pitch any earlier than Wednesday. If he goes that day, Martinez could make two spring appearances and still be rested for an Opening Day start, should St. Louis give it to him.

Martinez served as the top starting pitcher for the Dominican team and logged eight innings over two starts. He allowed six hits, three runs (one earned), walked three and struck out eight. Prior to leaving Cardinals camp, Martinez made a three-inning start.

Alberto Rosario, a catcher on the Dominican club, will also be returning to camp on Monday. The only member of the organization still participating in the tournament is veteran catcher Yadier Molina.

Brett Cecil, who was eligible to be added to the Team USA roster at any point during the event, does not appear to be needed.

Back in relief

Trevor Rosenthal's start last Thursday will likely be the only one he makes this spring. With Martinez returning to camp, the Cardinals are bumping Rosenthal back to the bullpen. He's scheduled to pitch on Monday, behind Leake.

While Rosenthal will not open the season as a starter, the Cards are still determining how exactly he'll fit into the bullpen mix. He will continue to get multiple-inning opportunities in spring so he can be used for longer relief stints come April. The Cardinals do not intend to pigeonhole Rosenthal into a long-relief, mop-up role, but they are open to utilizing him as a flex reliever who could pitch multiple innings in high-leverage situations.

Rosenthal tosses two scoreless

"This guy is a dominant end-of-the-game pitcher who can see a different -- I don't know if there is a great name for the role -- but a guy who just comes in and can pitch significant innings, but multiple significant innings," Matheny said. "We're challenging him this year and giving in a little bit, too, to this idea of having him in an increased role that looks more like a starter."

Rosenthal has allowed one run over five spring innings.

Odds and ends

• St. Louis will play its first of two Grapefruit League night games on Monday, which means a rare morning off. Matheny said he'll have players report at 1 p.m. ET for the 6:05 p.m. game.

• Following the team's day off Tuesday, the Cardinals plan to travel their full team for the remaining road games of Spring Training.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.