Postcard from Cardinals spring training camp for Friday, March 10, 2023

Postcard from Cardinals spring training camp for Friday, March 10, 2023

Weather: 81 degrees, clear

Result: Cardinals 7, Mets 5

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – The intent wasn’t specifically to try to hit more home runs; it’s just kind of worked out that way so far this spring for Brendan Donovan.

Donovan hit his team-leading fourth homer for the Cardinals in the first inning Friday night, one of the team’s three homers in a win over the Mets.

Donovan hit only five home runs last season after being promoted to the major-leagues, and the goal of his off-season work has produced an increase in his bat speed allowing the ball to carry farther.

“The biggest thing was just moving more efficiently,” Donovan said. “I think it’s just a byproduct of moving a little better and being aware of what my body wants to do and the positions I’m in.

“I’m taking the same swing but I think moving a little better has allowed the bat speed to move up just a tick … They are small tweaks. I’m happy with it.”

Donovan’s homers have come in 28 at-bats. He also leads the team with 10 RBIs, but knows it is still a work in progress.

“There are still some things that I want to clean up,” he said. “I’m still looking for some timing.

“For me it’s just making sure I am in a good place mentally and physically and just go do what I need to do to help us win.”

Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:

High: After Donovan’s homer, the Cardinals also got home runs from Juan Yepez and Masyn Winn.

Low: Andrew Knizner continued to struggle, going 0-of-2 and dropping his spring average to .067.

At the plate: Yepez also had an RBI double that gave him a four-hit night … Jordan Walker had another pair of hard-hit singles, raising his average to .438. Walker has at least two hits in five of the 10 games he has played … Winn’s home run was a two-run shot, his second of the spring … Paul DeJong drew a pair of walks in his three plate appearances.

On the mound: Starter Jordan Montgomery allowed two runs on three hits in his four innings of work. He retired the first seven hitters he faced before giving up all three hits in a span of four batters … Matthew Liberatore allowed two runs, one of which was unearned following his own throwing error, over his three innings of work.

Worth noting: Dylan Carlson, who had been limited to DH duties recently because of a sore arm, was cleared to start in center field … Nolan Gorman started for the second time in his last two games at third base … After Thursday’s exhibition game against Nicaragua, which lasted 2 hours, 53 minutes, manager Oli Marmol reiterated how big a fan he has become of the pitch clock. The game against the Mets was played in 2 hours, 32 minutes … Connor Thomas pitched four innings in a game on a backfield before Friday night’s game.

Up next: The Cardinals will play the Astros on Saturday in West Palm Beach. Jack Flaherty is the scheduled starter.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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