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Cardinals hold on to nip Nats 5-4; invite free agent Spangenberg to join camp

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St. Louis Cardinals start day 2 of team workouts in Jupiter

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong fields a ground ball during defensive drills on the second day of team workouts on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at the Cardinals spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

JUPITER, Fla. — Dylan Carlson, tried as a leadoff man for the first time, singled and drove in a Cardinals run. Harrison Bader doubled in two runs and singled to set up another. And Paul DeJong, upon whom there are many eyes this spring, also doubled and singled and drove in a run.

All these regulars played a role in the Cardinals’ 5-4 exhibition win over Washington on Friday, Afterward, the Cardinals announced some roster juggling, signing free-agent utilityman Cory Spangenberg, 31, to a non-roster contract but an invite to big-league camp, added non-roster righthander Aaron Brooks to the 40-man roster and placed righthander  Alex Reyes on the 60-day injured list with a sore right shoulder.

From a pitching standpoint Friday, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol chose to employ rotation pitcher Miles Mikolas in a camp game on the back fields and start free-agent signee Drew VerHagen.

VernHagen, reputed to be a strike thrower, had 27 strikes in 36 pitches. Two of them ended up over the wall for home runs but his outing, sort of an audition for him as a fifth starter, was solid enough

Ryan Helsley, pitching for the first time since last summer when his season ended because of elbow problems—he also had a bad knee—worked a scoreless inning, as did nearly everybody else who came in from the bullpen.

That included veteran lefthander Genesis Cabrera, whose velocity was down, but who had a perfect inning, and young righthander Andre Pallante, who fanned two hitters in a scoreless sixth. Non-roster righthander James Naile, a Cape Girardeau, Missouri native, had a strong eighth with two strikeouts. Righthander Jacob Bosiokovic, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound former first baseman who has caught the attention of scouts here, has his second perfect inning of the spring, striking out one. 

Mikolas pitched in the morning in a Class AAA level game. He gave up three runs and four hits in the first inning but nothing over the next three innings, throwing four innings in which 36 of his 47 pitches were strikes. His catcher was Yadier Molina, in his first game action of the spring.

Molina, who probably will play in a varsity game in the next day or two, was nothing for four against three pitchers, two of the at-bats coming against new lefthander Packy Naughton, just acquired on waivers from the Los Angeles Angels.

The Cardinals are 5-1 in their 15-game exhibition season.  They also optioned Naughton and righthanders Johan Quezada, Angel Rondon and T.J. Zeuch to Class AAA Memphis and assigned lefthander Zack Thompson to minor league camp. 

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