This is it! After today, all that will remain for Cardinals before the season begins in earnest is an untelevised scrimmage against the Memphis squad on Friday.
Before we get into a few notes for today, I'd like to let you inveterate (and degenerate) gamethreaders know what's happening in the regular season this year. I will no longer be writing lead-ins for individual games. Instead, there will be series previews for each series highlighting things to watch for, recent developments, and anything relevant to the upcoming series, mostly but not exclusively focusing on the opposing team. The gamethreads themselves will have some pre-programmed information about the starting pitchers, anything interesting available in the SBN widgets, and lineups when possible.
Some notes on our final spring game:
-Brad Hand is fighting for a rotation spot. He has decent stuff, as evidenced by nearly a K per inning over the last two years in AAA. But he's walked over half a batter per inning too. He's been up and down several times and is now out of options. Marlins Manager Mike Redmond has narrowed the choice to Hand and Tom Koehler. Hand, a lefty, is a candidate for the bullpen if Koehler wins the spot.
-Fookie is fragile. There are conflicting reports on whether or not he'll open the season on the DL with a hamstring injury.
-OF Jake Marisnick has had a very good spring. It'll be hard for him to crack the roster with Stanton, Yellich and Ozuna stationed in the outfield, but he's a player to watch. Morning update: Marisnick was sent to the minor league camp today
-We could see final looks at some or all of Butler, Rondon and McGregor today. If they don't make the team, I expect them to act out the end of Stranger than Paradise. Florida is a funny place.
-The next gamethread will be Monday at 3:10 for a game against the Cincinnati Reds that counts in the standings.
The game starts at 12:05 pm Grand Avenue Water Tower time, and it plays on FSMW and mlb.tv