JUPITER, Fla. — The Cardinals’ 28-man roster is set for Thursday’s start of the season at home with Pittsburgh. While left-handed pitcher Connor Thomas is on the list of pitchers slated to face Washington on Monday in Jupiter, he will not be on the opening-day club.
Right-handed rookie Andre Pallante, impressive this spring, will be the 15th pitcher on the club. Thomas and right-hander Jake Walsh, another rookie, will be headed for Memphis on Tuesday in time for the start of the Class AAA club’s season. Walsh was optioned off the 40-man roster.
To get down to 28, the Cardinals also reassigned catcher Julio Rodriguez and utility man Cory Spangenberg to the minors, and right-hander Jack Flaherty (shoulder) was placed on the 10-day injured list.
Of more importance to St. Louis fans, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol announced Monday that Albert Pujols would start as his designated hitter Thursday, marking Pujols' 22d consecutive opening-day start, tied for second all-time in the majors.
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Pete Rose had 23, and Carl Yastrzemski and Henry Aaron had 22.
The lineup also appears set, at least batting-order wise. Dylan Carlson will hit first Monday and Tommy Edman ninth. The rest of the lineup, in order, for the game will be Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O’Neill, Nolan Arenado, Pujols, Paul DeJong, Yadier Molina and Harrison Bader eighth ahead of Edman.
Marmol said this very well could be the batting order Thursday.
So far, Pujols is slated to see his first game action at first base behind Miles Mikolas, while Goldschmidt will serve as the designated hitter, although Marmol said he might change his mind and play Pujols at first Tuesday in the final game of the spring, to be contested with the Miami Marlins. Left-hander Steven Matz is in line to make that start.
After he exited from Monday's game, Pujols through his agent announced he is separating from his wife, Deidre Pujols. Pujols requested privacy regarding the matter but fielded reporters' baseball questions, expressing excitement about his opening-day start.
Here is the statement released by agent Dan Lozano on behalf of Pujols:
"I’ve been asked a lot of questions over the past few days regarding what’s been going on at home and sadly, after 22 years of marriage, I have made the decision to file for divorce from my wife, Deidre. I realize this is not the most opportune time with Opening Day approaching and other family events that have recently taken place. These situations are never easy and isn’t something that just happened overnight. As a devout Christian, this is an outcome that I never wanted to see happen. For many long days and nights, I prayed, asking the Lord for His guidance. I am thankful for the five beautiful children that we brought into this world and remain committed to raising them in a loving and safe environment. I ask that you please respect our privacy and the privacy of our five children during this time."
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