JUPITER, Fla. -- A left hamstring spasm truncated Bud Norris' first spring start as a member of the Cardinals after it flared up as he ran to cover first base during the third inning of Friday's 9-6 loss to the Red Sox.Norris said he wasn't concerned about the injury, and
JUPITER, Fla. -- A left hamstring spasm truncated Bud Norris' first spring start as a member of the Cardinals after it flared up as he ran to cover first base during the third inning of Friday's 9-6 loss to the Red Sox.
Norris said he wasn't concerned about the injury, and he described himself as day to day.
"Not something super alarming, but we took the precautionary route," Norris said. "I don't think it's something that will hold me back too much at all."
Starting in place of Carlos Martinez, who was scratched late Friday morning due to a personal matter, Norris first felt a twinge in his hamstring while covering first base in the first inning. He felt a sharper pain two innings later after inducing a ground ball to the right side from Rafael Devers. After a conference on the mound, Norris walked off the field with the club trainer.
Norris allowed five earned runs over 2 1/3 innings in what amounted to an emergency spot start.
"I just saw him favoring it, and he'd already made his pitches," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It was just time to get him out."
Matheny informed Norris he'd be starting just two hours before game time after it became clear Martinez wouldn't be available. The Cardinals' ace instead threw a three-inning simulated game to Minor League hitters before leaving camp early. He was not available for comment.
Norris was originally scheduled to throw three innings later in the game. The club signed Norris, who turned 33 on Friday, to a one-year deal earlier this spring with an eye toward situations like this.
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The Cardinals will stretch Norris out as starter this spring, and he could very well provide rotation depth once the season starts. But the club also anticipates using Norris in relief, either in the middle of games or at the back end. Norris has been a starter, middle reliever and closer at different points in his nine-year career. It's this versatility St. Louis covets.
"I think we're open to whatever makes us better," Matheny said. "How can we maximize what we bring to the table? He certainly has the ability to pitch more than one inning."
Norris missed time last season, when he saved 19 games for the Angels, due to right knee inflammation. He experienced minor hamstring issues early in his career, but not his right side, not the left.
"On a scale of one to 10, it's a one or a two," Norris said of Friday's injury. "I didn't feel it whatsoever making pitches."
Each day early in Cardinals camp seems to belong to a different member of the club's considerable crop of young outfielders battling for a bench spot on the big league club. Friday was Harrison Bader's day. The 23-year-old Bader doubled for one of his three hits, scored two runs and drove in another to raise his Grapefruit League average to .316.
Bader entered camp the favorite to win club's fourth outfielder job due to his Major League experience and ability to play all three positions. Tyler O'Neill, Adolis Garcia, Oscar Mercado and possibly Yairo Munoz are also in the running. Munoz and Garcia combined to go hitless in six at-bats Friday.
For the second time this week, Matheny watched from the dugout as his eldest son, Tate, strode to the plate with a bat in his hands. Red Sox manager Alex Cora made it a point to bat Tate -- an outfielder in Boston's system who is likely to begin the year at Double-A -- in the leadoff spot on Friday against his father's team.
"That's just first class. I can't even put it into words," the Cardinals' manager said. "Obviously [Cora] went out of his way there, and I'm grateful for that."
Cora started Tate Matheny at designated hitter, where he went 0-for-2 with a run scored and three walks. He was the only Red Sox starter to play the entire game.
Cora sent Tate Matheny out to discuss ground rules -- traditionally the responsibility of a manager or coach -- before the two teams played Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla. That morning, Tate handed off the club's lineup card across from the Cardinals' representative, his dad.
Free-agent acquisition Luke Gregerson is scheduled to make his Cardinals debut when St. Louis travels to face the Braves at Champion Stadium in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Miles Mikolas will make his second start of the spring, opposite Julio Teheran. First pitch slated for 12:05 p.m. CT on Gameday Audio.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.