JUPITER, Fla. -- For the third straight year, every home run the Cardinals hit during the 2014 season will help raise money for the SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis through the Homers for Health program. The kickoff press conference was held after the Cardinals' 17-5 loss to the Tigers on Monday, and it was during the gathering that a new K's for Kids initiative was also announced.
The Homers for Health program, which has raised more than $1 million in two years, encourages fans to pledge a donation for every home run hit by the Cardinals in 2014. With the addition of K's for Kids, fans can also choose to make a pledge for every strikeout thrown by a St. Louis pitcher.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig return as spokesmen for the program and have been joined by Adam Wainwright and Jason Motte in order to promote initiative.
"This year, strikeouts won't just get us out of jams," Motte said in a press release. "They will also help patients and families through some tough situations."
Added Holliday: "If Jason and Adam want to be a part of Homers for Health, that's great. It means more money is going to come in for Cardinal Glennon kids, and that's what we are all here for."
Holliday created this program in 2012 with his wife Leslee, who is a member of the Cardinal Glennon Board of Governors. With the funds raised so far, the hospital has been able to build a child-friendly Imaging and Diagnostic Center at the hospital, where children can get the lowest dose radiation, watch their favorite movie in the suite and select a colored theme for their room.
Fans can pledge as little as 25 cents for every home run and 5 cents for every strikeout. For more information on the program or to make a pledge, visit http://www.glennon.org/programs/homersforhealth.
Matheny challenges players to pick up pace
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals, off to a 2-6-2 record in Grapefruit League play, had their manager none too happy on Monday afternoon following a 17-5 loss to the Tigers.
A second straight blowout loss saw the Cards outscored, 28-6, over the past two days.
"That's ugly no matter wherever it is," skipper Mike Matheny said. "The backyard with your kid, you don't like to have games like that. I'd like to say you get them out of your system, but there's nothing saying that they're gone after you have a couple of them. To have two of them in a row like that is not acceptable, and these guys know that."
The Cardinals faced top-tier pitchers -- Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals on Sunday, Max Scherzer on Monday -- in both games, but that doesn't serve as an excuse for allowing 28 runs on 37 hits and 12 walks in 17 innings. On Monday, 10 of those hits went for extra bases. The Tigers hit three balls out of Roger Dean Stadium.
"Today, we got bombed with balls hit hard all over the place," Matheny said. "Shelby [Miller] was really about one pitch away from having a pretty good day in a situation where we weren't even going to give that guy [Miguel Cabrera] anything to hit right there. Next thing you know, it's two runs later."
Matheny tried to point out a few positives from the loss -- Stephen Piscotty's three-run homer, a 2-for-2 day for Peter Bourjos, drawn out at-bats by Matt Carpenter and strong defensive play from Jon Jay. But he also issued a challenge for better.
"Even though we're in Spring Training, we're still talking about an urgency, we're still talking about a level of expectation of how we want to play the game," Matheny said. "There are positives through individuals, but when you have such an ugly beating, it's hard to focus on them very long."
Prospects Kelly, Wisdom among Cards' cuts
JUPITER, Fla. -- With their first major wave of cuts this spring, the Cardinals reduced the number of players in Major League camp to 49 after Monday's 17-5 loss to the Tigers. Among those sent out were three of the organization's top 10 prospects, according to MLB.com's rankings.
Right-hander Angel Castro, outfielder Mike O'Neill and outfielder Rafael Ortega, all of whom are on the club's 40-man roster, were optioned to Triple-A. They'll be joined in Minor League camp by six players who were in the big league clubhouse as non-roster invitees: right-hander Boone Whiting, right-hander Kurt Heyer, third baseman Patrick Wisdom and catchers Carson Kelly, Casey Rasmus and Cody Stanley.
In addition, the Cardinals reassigned lefty Marco Gonzales, the team's top pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, to Minor League camp on Sunday. Gonzales appeared in only one Grapefruit League game due to a brief setback with forearm tightness.
Gonzales (No. 5), Kelly (No. 8) and Wisdom (No. 9) all cracked the top half of the Cardinals' Top 20 prospects for 2014. O'Neill is No. 19 on that list.
• For the second straight day, outfielder Oscar Taveras was held out of the Cardinals' lineup due to tightness in his right hamstring. Taveras, ranked by MLB.com as the organization's top prospect, alerted the Cardinals to the discomfort during Saturday's game. He has logged just six Grapefruit League at-bats.
"He's moving pretty good," manager Mike Matheny said, "but we're still going to go a little slow with him."
• Chris Carpenter, who has taken a front office job with the Cardinals, arrived at the club's Florida complex on Monday morning. He was expected to spend some time at Spring Training to get some exposure to things he'll be doing in his new role. Carpenter watched part of Monday's 17-5 loss to the Tigers in the seats alongside general manager John Mozeliak and other front office members.
• Wainwright was bothered by strep throat over the weekend, but he expects to make his scheduled start on Tuesday.
• Matheny announced that Carlos Martinez will start Wednesday's game against the Mets and Lance Lynn will start the day after vs. Atlanta. With that schedule, Lynn will be pitching on an extra day of rest.
• Two players anticipating more versatile roles this season -- Jon Jay and Pete Kozma -- began getting work at secondary positions on Monday. Jay started in right field, a position he last appeared at in 2011, when he started 30 games there. Kozma, who had been playing exclusively at short this spring, entered the game midway through at third base.
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.