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Cards' Martinez scratched, throws sim game

Right-hander left camp early to attend to 'personal matter'
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

JUPITER, Fla -- On an afternoon in which Carlos Martinez was scheduled to make his second spring start, the Cardinals' ace threw three innings of a simulated game to Minor League hitters on the backfields at the team's Roger Dean complex instead. Bud Norris started in place of Martinez, who left camp early for what Cards manager Mike Matheny called "a personal matter."

Club officials declined to comment on why Martinez was scratched. The issue is not physical.

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JUPITER, Fla -- On an afternoon in which Carlos Martinez was scheduled to make his second spring start, the Cardinals' ace threw three innings of a simulated game to Minor League hitters on the backfields at the team's Roger Dean complex instead. Bud Norris started in place of Martinez, who left camp early for what Cards manager Mike Matheny called "a personal matter."

Club officials declined to comment on why Martinez was scratched. The issue is not physical.

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Tweet from @JoeTrezz: Video evidence the issue that scratched Carlos Martinez today isn���t his arm. #STLCards pic.twitter.com/fyEedTHMLs

Matheny clarified that Martinez would leave camp to return to his residence near the team's complex in Jupiter, not to St. Louis or his offseason home in the Dominican Republic. When asked if he expected Martinez back in camp tomorrow, Matheny said, "Not sure." Martinez was indeed back in camp Saturday morning, but declined to comment about why he left.

Martinez was scheduled to throw the first three innings of Friday's game, followed at some point by three more from Norris, whom the club is stretching out this spring for rotation depth. Martinez's absence gave Norris his first start, and it raised questions about Martinez's status.

Norris exited the Cardinals' 9-6 loss to the Red Sox on Thursday with a left hamstring spasm after yielding five runs over 2 1/3 innings.

Martinez entered camp as the club's mostly likely Opening Day starter after an All-Star season in 2017 over which he went 12-11 with a 3.64 ERA in 32 starts. He struggled in his first exhibition outing, walking three and allowing a run over 1 1/3 innings last week against the Mets.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez