JUPITER, Fla. • While the position players were taking their first official swings off coaches on Tuesday, members of the Cardinals' pitching staff were completing their third sets of bullpen sessions in preparation for what is dubbed "live pitching," beginning on Thursday.
Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist said that, starting on Thursday, the majority of the pitchers will face their own hitters twice in batting practice before the start of exhibition games a week from Friday, when they will begin facing other teams' hitters.
In the first rotation swing through the Grapefruit League schedule, Lilliquist said there would be two potential starters each day working either two innings, or some 40 to 45 pitches, and then four or five relievers pitching one inning apiece.
Among this group of two-inning types will be righthanded rookie Carlos Martinez, for several years the crown jewel of the system who wound up as a dominant eighth-inning man in the postseason last year.
"We're keeping all our options open," Lilliquist said.
Might one of those be Martinez as a starter when the season begins?
"Crazier things have happened," said Lilliquist, with a smile.