Scott reassigned after stellar spring: 'He should be super proud'

Cardinals set rotation order; Gray, Nootbaar progressing

March 23rd, 2024

JUPITER, Fla. -- has had nothing short of an exceptional Spring Training, but his MLB debut will be delayed at least a little while longer.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol announced on Saturday that the 23-year-old center fielder, who was a non-roster invitee, had been assigned to Minor League camp, along with infielder César Prieto. St. Louis also trimmed its spring roster to 35 by optioning right-hander Nick Robertson, first baseman Luken Baker and first basemen/outfielders Alfonso Rivas III and Jared Young to Triple-A Memphis as the club winds down camp at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium.

Scott, the Cards' No. 4 prospect per MLB Pipeline, consistently flashed his defensive skills in center field this spring with a few eye-popping catches, but he also showed he can be a force on offense, as evidenced by his .316 batting average and speed that resulted in 10 runs scored and four stolen bases in 38 at-bats. Scott’s speed was on display last Tuesday in a game against the Marlins when he laid down a bunt and beat the throw to first to help spark a Cardinals rally.

“He should be super proud of the work he did this spring,” Marmol said of Scott, who was a fifth-round selection by St. Louis in the 2022 MLB Draft. “[We] got to see the way he goes about his business, how hard he works. A very impressive individual, I’ll tell you that.”

Marmol hinted that, while Scott likely will start the season at Triple-A Memphis, he will not be surprised if Scott is called up at some point this season.

“We do believe that at-bats at Triple-A make sense. We want to make sure that when he does come up here, he never looks back,” Marmol said, adding that some more time in the Minors will enable Scott to further hone his skills. “Victor showed us what he’s capable of doing. His bat is further along than I anticipated.”

Dylan Carlson won the starting center field job after a strong spring that has included three homers and 13 RBIs over 17 games, which played into some of the decision-making by the Cardinals.

“Dylan Carlson answered the bell,” Marmol said. “Victor took [the Minor League assignment] very well. He understands. He’s going to help us at some point this year, I’m sure of that.”

Rotation order set
Marmol announced that , who was named to the rotation on Friday, will follow Opening Day starter Miles Mikolas in Game 2 against the Dodgers in L.A. next Friday. The No. 3 starter will be Lance Lynn, followed by Steven Matz and Kyle Gibson to start the season.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” Thompson said. “Excited to see that the hard work in the offseason paid off. … I took a minute to let it sink in. It feels like I now have my foot in the door, and it’s up to me to make the most of it.”

Thompson was equally excited to hear that his good friend Matthew Liberatore will leave camp as a member of the Cardinals’ bullpen. Thompson and Liberatore had to put their celebration on hold, however.

“My wife was in town, so last night was date night,” Thompson said.

As for Mikolas, the 35-year-old right-hander looks ready to go for his Opening Day start in L.A. He pitched five innings in the Cardinals’ 2-2 tie against the visiting Nationals on Saturday afternoon, allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts in his final spring tune-up. Mikolas needed only 65 pitches (45 strikes), wrapping up his Grapefruit League work with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP over five starts (21 innings).

“He had everything in the zone, quick and efficient,” Marmol said of Mikolas.

Marmol said he wanted to slot Lynn in the No. 3 spot in the rotation so that he will be in line to pitch the home opener against the Marlins on April 4.

“I want him to pitch the home opener -- his personality is perfect for it,” Marmol said of the 36-year-old right-hander, who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent last November. “It just feels right that he comes back and takes that start. He’s brought a lot to the clubhouse. We made the right call having him come back here. From day one, he’s been the same. It’s exactly what was needed. The combination [and experience] of [Mikolas, Lynn and Gibson] is a difference-maker.”

Gray throws BP
, who will start the season on the injured list with a right hamstring strain he sustained on March 4, threw a short batting practice session against Minor League hitters on a back field at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Gray faced nine hitters and threw about 37 pitches without any apparent issues.

“From what it looked like, what I saw, he looked very good,” Marmol said, adding that Gray’s next step likely will be a simulation game in an extended spring training next week.

Back in the swing of things
Left fielder , who has been unable to play because of two nondisplaced rib fractures he sustained three weeks ago, took another step toward his return to the lineup on Saturday.

“Lars did some swings and said he felt good,” Marmol said.

It’s still undecided when Nootbaar will be cleared to face live pitching.