Cardinals dedicate Friday's game to Musial
Pregame ceremony, plaque dedication and other gala festivities planned
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced that they will dedicate Friday's game to honoring the life and legacy of Hall of Famer Stan Musial, who died in January at the age of 92.
Members of Musial's family will participate in a pregame ceremony, which will include a plaque dedication in Musial's honor. They will also throw out ceremonial first pitches. Rawlings has manufactured game balls stamped with a special Musial logo to be used during the Cardinals-Brewers contest.
Those attending Friday's game will receive a Stan Musial harmonica and commemorative box. Fans will then be asked to join in and play "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" -- a favorite of Musial's -- on the harmonica in the middle of the sixth inning, to match his uniform number. The organization will also distribute No. 6 window clings that resemble the Musial patch the Cardinals are wearing on their left sleeve throughout the season.
The Cardinals opened this homestand with a video tribute to Musial and the unveiling of a No. 6 decal on the wall in left-center field.
Carpenter, Descalso to split second base
ST. LOUIS -- With David Freese off the disabled list and presumably ready to resume playing almost daily, the Cardinals will be left to divvy up playing time at second base between Matt Carpenter and Daniel Descalso.
The pair entered Spring Training competing for the starting job at the position, though no clear winner emerged by the end of camp. Rather, manager Mike Matheny has said he intends to consider various factors on a daily basis to determine which of the two will start on any given day.
"There's going to be a juggling act a little bit," Matheny said.
The fact that Carpenter drew Wednesday's start behind sinkerball pitcher Jake Westbrook is further evidence of how far he has come defensively at the position. With the Cardinals believing Carpenter to present no defensive liability at second base, opposing pitchers are likely to play a large role in Matheny's daily decision.
Matheny also showed last year that he won't hesitate to stick for an extended period of time with whoever is rolling offensively. Carpenter entered Wednesday with multihit games in four of his seven starts. He ranked second in the league with four doubles and has scored in all five games in which he has gotten a hit.
Wednesday's start marked just his second of the season at second base. Descalso has started the other seven and is 7-for-28 at the plate.
"How well Matt has adapted to second base, I think, is very impressive," Matheny said. "It didn't surprise any of us. As soon as we started talking about it and put a work list together on the things he needed to work on in the winter, we knew it would probably be taken care of, and he did a great job."
Top prospects Taveras, Martinez back on track
Two of the Cardinals' top three prospects are both moving in the right direction toward playing full-time in the Minors.
Oscar Taveras, the top prospect in the system and No. 3 on MLB.com's overall Top 100, is back with Triple-A Memphis. He made his 2013 debut on Monday as a pinch-hitter. He pinch-hit again the following day, leading some to wonder if there was a larger issue that was keeping him from being in the starting lineup after missing the start of the season to attend a funeral back home in the Dominican Republic and having travel issues getting back.
"There are no issues," Cardinals farm director John Vuch said about Taveras. "It's just that since he had been away for over a week without playing, arriving on Monday afternoon, we just wanted to give him a chance to get his legs back under him before throwing him out there for a full game. He's likely to be back in the lineup [Wednesday or Thursday]."
Right-hander Carlos Martinez, meanwhile, continues to get into game shape. The No. 3 prospect in the organization had visa trouble and couldn't get out of the Dominican Republic. He had his work visa approved on March 26 and made it to Florida two days later. It's now just a matter of time before he's deemed ready to head to Double-A Springfield.
"He'll be pitching at extended Spring Training for the next few weeks," Vuch said. "He'll likely be ready for activation by late April, early May."
-- Jonathan Mayo
• After playing every inning of the first eight games of the season, Allen Craig sat for Wednesday's series finale against the Reds. That gave manager Mike Matheny the opportunity to start first baseman Matt Adams, whose pinch-hit home run lifted the Cardinals to a win on Tuesday.
With Craig not starting, that leaves Yadier Molina, Jon Jay and Pete Kozma as the team's only position players to start all nine games this season.
• Despite appearing in each of the first two games of the series against the Reds, both Trevor Rosenthal and Mitchell Boggs were expected to be ready to pitch again on Wednesday, if needed. Their availability has a lot to do with both having low pitch counts on Tuesday. Rosenthal threw 11 pitches in the eighth inning; Boggs needed just 12 to cover the ninth.
• Right-hander Victor Marte has not had a smooth start to the season as Triple-A Memphis' closer. After blowing a save on Sunday, Marte again was unable to hold a ninth-inning lead on Tuesday. Memphis later lost the game, 5-4, in extra innings.
• In order to open a roster spot for Ryan Jackson in Triple-A, infielder Vance Albitz was sent down to Double-A Springfield.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.