JUPITER, Fla. • A clubhouse fixture and favorite with teammates from the first day of spring through the last, one late addition to the Cardinals spent spring earning a place with the ballclub and got word recently of a role in the regular season.
Yes, the ping-pong table is going north.
The Cardinals closed the Grapefruit League portion of their spring training Thursday afternoon with a loss to Miami, 6-4. They conclude spring with an exhibition tonight in Memphis against their Class AAA affiliate at AutoZone park, and minutes after the final out will fly a finalized 25-man roster to Cincinnati for Monday’s opener.
The ping-pong table, where so many players improved over the course of two months, will meet them in St. Louis for the home opener April 7. The Cardinals, 11-13-2 in the Grapefruit League, leave spring behind with fewer questions than they started and one trait any club covets at the end of March: the same level of health they had at the beginning.
“We had some questions going in: What was our starting rotation going to look like? What was our bullpen going to look like? We’re not even there yet,” manager Mike Matheny said. “But we’ve answered some of those.”
Rookie Kolten Wong seized his chance to be an everyday player. Stephen Piscotty pulled a Michael Wacha and left such a favorable impression that he could be on speed dial. The Cardinals got solid springs from newcomers (Peter Bourjos) and new starters (Matt Adams), and had uncertainty emerge in the bullpen.
Forty-eight days ago, on the eve of camp, the Post-Dispatch presented 10 questions for the Cardinals to address in spring. Click the arrows to read how they did: