Postcard from Cardinals spring training camp for Monday, March 20, 2023

Postcard from Cardinals spring training camp for Monday, March 20, 2023

Weather: 63 degrees, partly cloudy

Result: Cardinals 5, Marlins 0

By Rob Rains

JUPITER, Fla. – At this time last March, Nolan Gorman was going through a 2-of-16 spring that resulted in him beginning the regular season in Memphis.

What Gorman learned from that experience, as well as the knowledge he gained during the regular season, has been on display this month – and that was the case again on Monday.

Gorman had an RBI single, off a lefthander, in a four-run sixth inning that carried the Cardinals to the win over the Marlins.

The RBI was the 12th of the spring for Gorman, in 46 at-bats, and raised his spring average to .325.

“More consistency, swinging at better pitches,” Gorman said in describing the differences between the two springs. “Sticking to my routine and knowing that all the work I put in is where I want to be.

“I was able to learn a lot from last year and reflect on it, take that into the off-season and do what I needed to do to be ready for this season.”

Manager Oli Marmol appreciates it when a player does the work over the winter that the team wanted him to do. In Gorman’s case specifically, it was being able to not swing and miss high fastballs.

“He’s calmer at the plate and in control of his at-bat,” Marmol said. “He’s not letting the pitcher dictate the entire at-bat. And he actually has answer for the top of the zone. Otherwise he was fairly easy to pitch to if you have any type of command.”

Here is how Monday’s game broke down:

High: Dylan Carlson also drove in a run with a sixth-inning single, his team-leading 13th RBI of the spring.

Low: Paul DeJong experienced more tightness in his lower back trying to field ground balls.

At the plate: A walk, a throwing error and another walk started the rally in the sixth that broke up a scoreless game. Jordan Walker and Gorman also stole bases in the inning, which included a sacrifice fly from Juan Yepez … Walker was hitless in four at-bats, only the second time this spring in 13 games with at least three at-bats that Walker failed to get a hit … Taylor Motter started at first base, after starting at third and shortstop the previous two games, and went 1-of-3.

On the mound: Jake Woodford might have secured a spot on the opening day roster with five shutout innings, striking out seven, as he lowered his spring ERA to 2.04. “He continues to get better and better,” Marmol said. “That’s a pretty impressive outing. We do have some tough decisions, but that right there was exactly what we wanted to see.” … Drew VerHagen, Genesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks all contributed a scoreless inning, but none of the three threw a clean inning.

Worth noting: Marmol was watching on television Sunday night when Nolan Arenado was hit on his right hand by a pitch in the World Baseball Classic semifinal game. “It was scary for a moment,” Marmol said. “I was able to text back and forth literally what felt like seconds after he was hit. He responded pretty quickly and said he feels good. Glad he’s OK.” X-rays were negative and Arenado is expected to play in the championship game on Tuesday night … DeJong was projected to play on Tuesday but won’t, Marmol said, after his back tightened up again on Monday morning while fielding groundballs. More medical exams were scheduled but it appears all but certain that DeJong will have to begin the regular season on the injured list …Tyler O’Neill’s return to the lineup was delayed by a stomach bug … Andre Pallante, who has not pitched since returning from the WBC, is scheduled to work an inning on Tuesday … Ryan Helsley got in his scheduled work on Monday by pitching in a minor-league game.

Up next: Jack Flaherty will start on Tuesday against the Nationals in Jupiter.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains

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