What to know ahead of Cards Spring Training

February 8th, 2024

This story was excerpted from John Denton's Cardinals Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

During a scene late in the movie “Moneyball,” when former innovative A’s GM Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) is discussing a prospective job interview with the Red Sox with assistant GM/data analyst Paul DePodesta (played by Jonah Hill), Beane asks wistfully, “How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

How about this for romance for fans who love the Cardinals? Pitchers and catchers will conduct their first official drills at the club’s complex in Jupiter Fla., on Wednesday … Valentine’s Day! That must be sweet music for fans who love the game and can’t wait for it to return following a long, cold offseason.

With those thoughts in mind, here is a primer for the Cardinals’ upcoming Spring Training, including some “Frequently Asked Questions” about workout availabilities for fans, game schedules and new players to watch:

When is the first workout for pitchers and catchers?
They report to the team’s headquarters in Jupiter, Fla., on Feb. 13 and their first official workout is on Feb. 14. For a club with 10 new pitchers, it will be the first chance for many of them to get to know one another and start building chemistry.

What is the date of the first full-squad workout?
While many of the club’s players have been in Jupiter for informal drills for weeks, the first official full-squad workout isn’t until Feb. 19. That gives the team five days of workouts before the first Spring Training games on Feb. 24.

Where is the team’s facility?
The Cardinals are beginning their 26th season at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. They share the facility with the Marlins. Plans to renovate the stadium and the Cards’ and Marlins’ clubhouses beyond the stadium fences have been pushed back by a year because of permit delays. Roger Dean Stadium is located at 4751 Main Street, Jupiter, FL 33458. For more stadium information, check out rogerdeanstadium.com.

Can fans attend workouts?
Fans will have access to watch Cardinals players work out and potentially get autographs at the fields behind Roger Dean Stadium beginning on Wednesday at 9 a.m. ET. Admittance is free, and the gates will remain open as long as the workouts are ongoing. Fan parking is in the grassy areas beyond the outfield fences, and it is also complimentary.

Who are some new faces fans should know?
Most of the offseason work to remake the roster was done to the pitching staff where there are 10 new faces. Sonny Gray, the American League runner-up in Cy Young voting last season, was the team’s biggest offseason addition. Starter Kyle Gibson and relievers Andrew Kittredge and Keynan Middleton are additions who figure to be difference-makers.

Longtime Cardinals fans will recognize some of the other additions. Starting pitcher Lance Lynn, lefty slugger Matt Carpenter and bench coach Daniel Descalso -- all members of the 2011 Cards squad that won the World Series title -- are back.

Who are some of the top prospects invited to Major League camp?
Jordan Walker was not only the talk of the 2023 Spring Training camp, but he played his way onto the Opening Day roster with some spectacular hitting. This year, Masyn Winn, Victor Scott II, Thomas Saggese and Tekoah Roby are all hoping to repeat the feat and make the MLB club. Winn, who had a 37-game audition last season, will be the everyday shortstop if he proves he can handle big league pitching. Scott stole 94 bases and won a Gold Glove in the Minor Leagues last season, and he is definitely a player to watch.

When is the team’s first Grapefruit League game?
The Cardinals open Grapefruit League play on Feb. 24 with a couple of split-squad games. They host the Marlins in Jupiter and will also send a team to Port St. Lucie, Fla., to face the Mets.

What are a few other notable spring games?
The Cardinals host the Red Sox and two-time Gold Glove winner Tyler O’Neill on Feb. 27. O’Neill opened the 2023 season as the Cards' center fielder, but he struggled through a second straight injury-marred season and was traded to Boston in December. If O’Neill doesn’t make the trip, the Cards play the Red Sox again on March 12 -- this time in Fort Myers. The Cardinals will face the Twins on March 13, also in Fort Myers.

What is Spring Breakout and when are the games?
MLB is introducing the inaugural Spring Breakout in March. The four-day event from March 14-17 will be used to showcase each team’s top prospects and Minor League talent. Those squads will face top up-and-coming talent from other teams.

The Cardinals’ top prospects will host the Marlins’ top young talent on March 15 before the big league clubs square off later that night. On March 17, the Cards’ prospects will host the Astros’ top prospects prior to the MLB Grapefruit League game.

Will the Cardinals Spring Training games be televised?
Even though the television schedule has yet to be announced, a Bally Sports Midwest spokesman said earlier this week that the network intends to broadcast 15 Spring Training games. The Cardinals’ Grapefruit League opener against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium will be televised by Bally Sports on Feb. 24.

When is the club’s last game in Florida?
This is something of a trick question because of the club’s odd scheduling this year near the end of Spring Training. The Cardinals will play their final game in Florida on March 24 in West Palm Beach against the Astros. However, because they are opening the regular season on the West Coast, the Cards will make a pit stop in Mesa, Ariz., to face the rival Cubs in Cactus League play on March 25-26. It is believed to be the first Cactus League games played in franchise history, per Cards PR. The Redbirds open the regular season in Los Angeles against Shohei Ohtani and the Dodgers on March 28.

What are the details for Opening Day?
Following a difficult seven-game West Coast trip against the Dodgers and Padres, the retooled Cards will debut at Busch Stadium on April 4. They will take on 2023 National League Manager of the Year Skip Schumaker and the Marlins on April 4 at 3:15 p.m. CT. Schumaker, of course, was a member of the Cards’ 2006 and ‘11 World Series title teams, and he served as bench coach in ‘22. Thirteen of the Cardinals' first 16 games are against teams (Dodgers, Marlins, Phillies and D-backs) that made the playoffs in 2023.