JUPITER, Fla. •_ Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha, who had been cuffed for 23 hits and nine runs in his first 12 2/3 innings this spring, was in 2015 All-Star form on Wednesday as he stifled the Miami Marlins on two hits and no runs for five innings.
And righhander Seth Maness, who had a .467 opponents’ average against and a 9.45, pitched two scoreless innings and induced his trademark double play.
But a question the Cardinals hoped that been answered in a positive vein, became a question mark again when righthander Jordan Walden said his balky shoulder had bothered him in throwing a sixth-inning slider during what turned out to be his eighth straight scoreless outing this spring.
Walden, who missed the final five months of last season with a rotator cuff problem but did not have surgery, will be examined by doctors and then a next course of action will be outlined. But manager Mike Matheny, after meeting with general manager John Mozeliak, said after the Cardinals’ 3-0 win over Miami that Walden would not be on the club’s 25-man opening-day roster for the start of the season in Pittsburgh.
“I thought he threw well today,” said Matheny. “But I don’t think he felt good when he came out today.” Asked how he determined that, Matheny said Walden had told him, “I don’t feel real good.”
Continuing, Matheny said, “Something didn’t feel right, so we’re going to have to get him looked at again.”
Wacha was a different story. Citing a talk that pitching coach Derek Lilliquist had with the 24-year-old righthander, Matheny said Wacha had made some minor adjustments in his delivery.
“It was perfect timing, heading out of here,” Matheny said.
Matt Holliday doubled in two runs in the fifth for the Cardinals. Matt Adams, hitting safely in his fourth straight game, had an infield hit and a double. Adams has raised his average to .298 for the spring.
The Cardinals won four of the seven games from their stadium neighbors in a contest reeled off in 2 hours 19 minute.
St. Louisan David Phelps, a Hazelwood West product, fanned six in pitching three hitless innings as the Miami starter.
There had no question about closer Trevor Rosenthal, who gained his first save of the spring in his first save opportunity. The Cardinals, having won two in a row after just one victory in more than two weeks’ time, will play their final game of the spring on Thursday at Tampa against the New York Yankees.
HOLLIDAY STRIKES AGAIN
Matt Holliday, who hit his first spring homer a couple of days ago, doubled home two runs off former Cardinal Edwin Jackson to shove the Cardinals ahead of Miami 3-0 in the fifth inning of an exhibition on Wednesday.
Cardinals starter Michael Wacha, who held the Marlins to two hits over the first five innings, drew a Jackson walk with one out in the fifth and Stephen Piscotty singled with two out before Holliday lined his hit to deep left center.
CARDS KILL MARLINS SOFTLY
It was not exactly a thunderous rally. But the Cardinals parlayed a walk, a wild pitch, an infield hit and a bloop for the first run in Wednesday’s game with the Miami Marlins.
St. Louisan David Phelps had set down the first nine Cardinals, fanning six, before reliever A.J. Ramos walked Matt Carpenter to start the fourth inning and moved him to second on a wild pitch.
With two outs, Matt Adams beat out a tapper to the right of Ramos and Yadier Molina lobbed a single into right field to score Carpenter. Another walk loaded the bases before lefthander Cody Ege retired Jedd Gyorko on a groundout to third.
Michael Wacha blanked the Marlins on one hit over four innings, with center fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker ending the fourth with a diving catch in center field on a looper which blew back toward the infield.
WACHA HIT BY ONE-HOPPER, STAYS IN
Cardinals righthander Michael Wacha, who had allowed 23 hits in his first 12 2/3 innings this spring, held the Miami Marlins hitless for the first two innings Wednesday although he took a Justin Bour one-hop smash off his left thigh in the second inning. The ball then caromed to second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who got the out at first.
After receiving attention from head athletic trainer Adam Olsen and manager Mike Matheny, Wacha stayed in the game, which went scoreless into the third as St. Louisan David Phelps held the Cardinals hitless the first time through the order, fanning six.
He then was taken out for a pinch hitter, Ichiro Suzuki.
MATHENY WILL LEAVE WITH EXTRA PLAYERS
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has 31 healthy players in camp and he said he was taking them all to Tampa, where the team will travel after Wednesday’s game and where they will close the exhibition season against the New York Yankees. As many as six of them ultimately will be reassigned before the team then leaves for Pittsburgh for the April 3 opener, but Matheny said there were some jobs to be had.
Initially, Matheny had suggested that the club would be cut to 25 by the time they left here. But he said, Wednesday morning, “We have some decisions coming right down to the wire.
“I’d love, before we left town, to be able to summarize all that for not just you (media) but, especially for (the players).
“In all truthfulness, we’ve got to go right down to the end to make sure everybody is healthy, make sure that everybody can rebound, before we make any kind of decisions we can’t necessarily go back on.
“Those are decisions to make and we’re going to have to take every day, every minute we can, to assure that we’re making the right decision.”
Jeremy Hazelbaker, for instance, has been impressive enough that the Cardinals might keep an extra outfielder rather than an infielder or that Hazelbaker, who fanned twice in three at-bats on Wednesday, may be contesting with Tommy Pham for a reserve outfield job.
Jacob Wilson possibly could be challenging Greg Garcia for an infield reserve job. Catcher Brayan Pena, who had arm and knee problems, was in good shape, said Matheny, and “could have started today,” suggesting the club may carry only two receivers although Eric Fryer still is here.
WACHA HOPES TO GO LONGER
Michael Wacha, who has yet to complete five innings in any of four spring training appearances, will start for the Cardinals Wednesday as they play the Miami Marlins, who share the facility with the Cardinals.
Wacha, who will start the second game of the season in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night, has permitted 23 hits and nine earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
Matt Adams will start at first base and hit fourth. Matt Holliday is in left field. Impressive outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker is in center field and Yadier Molina is catching. Originally, it had been thought that backup Brayan Pena would catch but the latter has had a minor knee issue.
Jedd Gyorko will be at his natural second base spot with Ruben Tejada at shortstop. The game will be the seventh of the spring between the two teams, who are tied for the spring season series at 3-3.
The Cardinals will wrap up Grapefruit League play on Thursday at Tampa, Fla., against the New York Yankees, with Mike Leake pitching.
1. Matt Carpenter 3b
2. Stephen Piscotty rf
3. Matt Holliday lf
4. Matt Adams 1b
5. Yadier Molina c
6. Jeremy Hazelbaker cf
7. Jedd Gyorko 2b
8. Ruben Tejada ss
9. Michael Wacha p