JUPITER, Fla — Cardinals first baseman/designated hitter Juan Yepez took only three stitches to repair the damage caused to the bottom of his chin after he had taken a pitch off the left side of his face Wednesday in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Yepez bled a lot, but he said, “I don’t think it was that bad. I got hit but I thought, ‘Well, my teeth are good. My jaw is good.’ But it just kind of cut me. It didn’t get me square. Nothing broken.”
Top Nationals prospect Cade Cavali, who allowed 11 runs in the eighth inning, was the pitcher who hit Yepez.
“I led off the inning and I got a double,” said Yepez. “And he only got one out. Then I was up again that same inning with no mound visits, no nothing. Probably, he was exhausted.”
Before Thursday night’s exhibition game here against the Miami Marlins, Yepez was listed on the lineup card as being among the extra men. But, he left the clubhouse in street clothes with his equipment bag packed and a suitcase, which apparently was empty.
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“I have to go to the hotel to pack,” Yepez said, shortly before the Cardinals released a statement saying he, righthander Jacob Bosiokovic and catcher Ali Sanchez had been sent back to the minors. Yepez and Sanchez were optioned. Bosiokovic was reassigned to the minor league complex.
Manager Oliver Marmol said he had kept Yepez around a few more days to observe Pujols' routine. "I enjoyed watching him," said Marmol. "He'll be here soon. And when he comes back, I think he'll be here for a long time."
Outfielder Dylan Carlson, who jammed his right hand sliding into third base on Wednesday — he was sliding feet first when he grabbed for the bag — also was “cleared,” said Marmol.
Carlson, who had slid while wearing a mitt on his right hand, said he had been concerned for a bit when he left the game. “It looked a little different than normal,” he said. “It hurts me. But nothing too crazy.
“We’re all good. No worries. There were no other precautions to take other than to slide earlier. I couldn’t really tell you any other way to do it.”
Right-hander Drew VerHagen will try to make five innings in his second start of the spring Thursday night. Left-hander Steven Matz threw six innings in a minor-league game at the Marlins’ complex in the morning and told Marmol he felt good. Veterans Pujols and Yadier Molina were allowed to go from field to field taking at-bats in various minor-league encounters at the Marlins’ site and are not expected to be on hand for the night game.
Ryan Helsley, Jordan Hicks and Kodi Whitley are among the pitchers slated to follow VerHagen. Third baseman Nolan Arenado, who had a mole removed from his right eyebrow Wednesday, was back in the lineup. Other regulars on the card were Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong.
1. Harrison Bader cf
2. Tyler O’Neill lf
3. Nolan Arenado 3b
4. Paul DeJong ss
5. Lars Nootbaar rf’
6. Andrew Knizner c
7. Brendan Donovan 2b
8. Alec Burleson dh
9. Luken Baker 1b
RH Drew Verhagen p