JUPITER, Fla. -- Three days before Carlos Martinez departs for the World Baseball Classic, the Cardinals are still seeking clarification on how the Dominican team intends to utilize the pitcher in the tournament."That's a good question and one that I would like a little bit more definition on by the
JUPITER, Fla. -- Three days before Carlos Martinez departs for the World Baseball Classic, the Cardinals are still seeking clarification on how the Dominican team intends to utilize the pitcher in the tournament.
"That's a good question and one that I would like a little bit more definition on by the Dominican Republic team," general manager John Mozeliak said. "I don't know if they owe us that or not, candidly. It would be nice to have an idea of exactly how they're thinking about using him."
Martinez pitched three innings in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday. It's the only start he'll make before the Classic, and if the Dominican team advances to the finals, he won't return to Cardinals camp until the final week of Spring Training. That's why the Cardinals desire to have his workload monitored.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
Mozeliak said he intends to open dialogue with a member of the Dominican staff in the coming days to discuss its plans for Martinez. The Classic does have pitch count rules in place to protect pitchers from throwing too much, too soon.
The Cardinals announced on Thursday that they have agreed to terms with the 21 unsigned players on their 40-man roster. These include all players who have yet to qualify for arbitration. Most will make at or just slightly above the Major League minimum, which is $535,000 this season.
These signees include: Carson Kelly, Eliezer Alvarez, Greg Garcia, Edmundo Sosa, Breyvic Valera, Anthony Garcia, Randal Grichuk, Jose Martinez, Tommy Pham, Stephen Piscotty, Magneuris Sierra, Matt Bowman, John Gant, Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, Mike Mayers, Alex Reyes, Miguel Socolovich, Sam Tuivailala, Luke Weaver and Rowan Wick.
On Thursday, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association released a series of rule changes that will go into effect in 2017. Those include the no-pitch intentional walk, a 30-second limit to challenge a call, a two-minute cap on replay reviews and the prohibition of markers on the field to position defenders.
Also included was an addition to Rule 5.07 that "formalizes an umpire interpretation by stipulating that a pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch." If a violation occurs with a runner on base, the pitcher will be called for a balk. If it occurs with no one on, the pitch will be deemed illegal.
While this rule will require some pitchers to recalibrate their deliveries, it will not affect any pitcher on the Cardinals' staff, Mozeliak confirmed. That includes John Gant, who features an extra step in his motion. Because that step is not toward the plate and not with his pivot foot, Gant will not have to make any modifications.
Odds and ends
• Manager Mike Matheny said the club is likely to schedule a simulated game within the next few days in order to create added opportunities for pitchers and hitters to get work.
• Michael Wacha (Friday), Lance Lynn (Saturday) and Mike Leake (Sunday) will start the next three games. Trevor Rosenthal will pitch in relief of Wacha against Washington.
• Kevin Siegrist, who was slowed by left shoulder soreness early in camp, faced hitters in a session of live batting practice on Thursday. He'll likely do so one more time before advancing to Grapefruit League play.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.