What to know about Cardinals Spring Training
The St. Louis Cardinals open Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla., next week without franchise icon Yadier Molina conducting sunrise catching clinics for the first time in 20 years.
The absence of the Molina -- along with fellow retiree Albert Pujols -- will be a significant storyline around the Cardinals throughout Spring Training. The Cardinals signed World Series champion catcher Willson Contreras away from the rival Cubs this offseason to replace Molina, who first showed up at MLB Spring Training with the Cardinals all the way back in 2003 after being drafted by the franchise in June 2000. Contreras, who has been working out in Jupiter twice a week for the past month, arrives with an $87 million contract and hopes that he can be an adequate defender and a massive upgrade offensively at the catching position for a Cardinals squad that won 93 games and the NL Central crown last year.
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Cardinals as they prepare to open Spring Training:
When is the first workout for pitchers and catchers?
Pitchers and catchers competing in the World Baseball Classic -- Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Ivan Herrera -- are required to be in camp by Feb. 14, while position players on WBC rosters (Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill and Lars Nootbaar) will be in camp by Feb. 15, which is the day of the first workout for pitchers and catchers.
What is the date of the first full-squad workout?
The Cardinals' first full-squad workout will be on Feb. 20. However, many of the players have been working out in Jupiter for weeks.
Where is the team's facility?
The Cardinals share Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., with the Marlins. It is the Cardinals' 26th consecutive season holding Spring Training in Jupiter. Roger Dean Stadium is located at 4751 Main Street.
Can fans attend workouts?
Fans will be allowed to attend player workouts at Roger Dean Stadium starting on Feb. 15. Fans can attend workouts from 9 a.m. ET until the end of the sessions. Fans are encouraged to park off Central Avenue and walk into the backfield entrance. The workouts are free to all spectators and no tickets are required for entry. Fans carrying larger bags are subject to being searched.
Who are some of the new faces that fans should know?
The newest face is, of course, Contreras, who spent the past seven seasons starring for the rival Cubs as one of MLB’s best hitting catchers. Contreras, 30, is a career .256 hitter with 117 home runs, 365 RBIs and an .808 OPS.
Selected in the Rule 5 Draft, 32-year-old Wilking Rodriguez will be competing for a spot in the bullpen following an impressive season in the Mexican League. Moisés Gómez is a Cardinals slugger to watch after he clubbed a franchise-record 39 home runs in the Minor Leagues last season at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. He will vie for the DH job vacated by the retirement of Pujols.
Who are some of the top prospects invited to Major League camp?
All eyes will be on 20-year-old outfielder Jordan Walker, MLB Pipeline’s No. 4 overall prospect. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Walker bulked up last season while in Double-A Springfield as he was making a position switch from third base to the outfield. The Cards' No. 1 prospect will likely play nearly every day during Spring Training, and he might have a legitimate shot to make the Opening Day roster while battling Dylan Carlson, O’Neill and Nootbaar for a starting spot in the outfield.
Fellow 20-year-olds Masyn Winn (No. 50 overall) and Tink Hence (No. 77), part of the haul from the 2020 MLB Draft along with Walker, will also be in MLB camp even though their futures will be in the Minor Leagues for 2023.
Which players will be participating in the World Baseball Classic?
As mentioned previously, the Cardinals will have one of the largest contingents of players competing in the World Baseball Classic.
Final WBC rosters come out on Thursday, but as of this week Goldschmidt, Arenado, Wainwright and Mikolas will be competing for Team USA. O’Neill is playing for his native Canada, while Edman (South Korea) and Nootbaar (Japan) will be honoring their mothers’ heritages with their team affiliations. Herrera said during the Cardinals Winter Warm Up festivities that he will be playing for his native Panama and alongside former Cardinals infielder Edmundo Sosa.
When is the team’s first Grapefruit League game?
The Cardinals open their Grapefruit League schedule against the Nationals on Feb. 25 at Roger Dean Stadium. First pitch is slated for 1:05 p.m. ET/12:05 CT.
What are a few of the notable games in Spring Training?
St. Louis will face 2011 Cardinals World Series champion and 2022 Cardinals bench coach Skip Schumaker for the first time as manager of the Marlins on Feb. 26. Schumaker, a utility infielder with the Cardinals from 2005-12, was hired by the Marlins as their new manager in late October.
The Cardinals take two trips to Florida’s West Coast and Central Florida, facing the Tigers in Lakeland on March 7, the Yankees in Tampa on March 8 and the Orioles in Sarasota on March 27. The Tigers (March 18) and Yankees (March 23) also play the Cardinals in Jupiter during Spring Training.
Will the Cardinals Spring Training games be televised?
Bally Sports Midwest has yet to release its Spring Training broadcast schedule, but a spokesman said the network has plans to televise 15 Cardinals Spring Training games -- its most since 2019. Included among those televised games by Bally Sports Midwest will be the Cardinals' Grapefruit League opener against the Nationals on Feb. 25.
Chip Caray, a St. Louis native and grandson of Hall of Famer Harry Caray, was hired earlier this month to replace Dan McLaughlin as the lead TV play-by-play voice of the Cardinals. Caray is expected to make his Bally Sports Midwest/Cardinals broadcast debut that day.
The Cardinals' game against the Mets on Feb. 27 is tentatively slated to be televised by ESPN.
When do the Cardinals wrap up Grapefruit League play?
The Cardinals close Grapefruit League play on March 27 against the Orioles in Sarasota, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET/12:05 CT.
Will there be any additional exhibitions before the regular season?
The Cardinals will host Team Nicaragua’s WBC entry on March 9 at Roger Dean Stadium at 1:05 p.m. ET/12:05 CT.
What are the details for Opening Day?
The Cardinals open the regular season at Busch Stadium for a second straight season when they host the Blue Jays on March 30 at 3:10 p.m. CT. It is the first time in the long and storied history of the Cardinals that they will open the regular season against an American League foe.