03/31/2013 8:25 PM ET
Garcia excited to start Cardinals' home opener
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- The Cardinals' decision to have Shelby Miller pitch against the Giants next weekend lines up lefty Jaime Garcia to pitch the team's home opener on April 8. The assignment is a first for Garcia, who has never before started a season opener at home or on the road.
"A few days ago, they told me there was a good chance I'd be starting that last game in San Francisco or the first game at home," said Garcia, who will make his season debut Tuesday against Arizona. "I said whatever decision was fine with me. But now that I know I'll be starting the home opener, it's pretty cool. I've been part of four Opening Days at home now, and that first game at home is always exciting. It's an honor for me to be able to do that."
Having entered spring with some still wondering about the durability of his left shoulder, Garcia hushed such concerns with a stellar run through Grapefruit League play. He led all Cardinals pitchers with 29 innings and allowed only eight earned runs on 28 hits.
Garcia was limited to 20 starts and 121 2/3 innings in 2012 due to left shoulder discomfort. The injury resurfaced in October, too, forcing Garcia out of the Cardinals' playoff run.
Matheny unveils Cardinals' Opening Day lineup
PHOENIX -- After a team workout at Chase Field on Sunday, manager Mike Matheny unveiled his Opening Day lineup, which features six position players drafted and developed by the Cardinals.
Center fielder Jon Jay will hit lead off, followed by Matt Carpenter (3B), Matt Holliday (LF), Allen Craig (1B), Carlos Beltran (RF), Yadier Molina (C), Daniel Descalso (2B), Pete Kozma (SS) and starting pitcher Adam Wainwright. With third baseman David Freese sidelined with a back injury, Matheny dropped Beltran from the No. 2 hole into the middle of the lineup.
"We feel real good about what we're throwing out there," Matheny said. "It's not just patchwork. That speaks to the depth of the organization. I'd say certainly we're deeper than last year ... but with the things that have happened, it's challenged that. But we still have pretty good depth."
The Cardinals start the season without Freese and projected starting shortstop Rafael Furcal, who is out for the season after undergoing elbow surgery. Starter Chris Carpenter and closer Jason Motte are also on the disabled list.
Of the position players who will start on Monday, only Holliday and Beltran don't fit into the category of homegrown talent. Wainwright was not drafted by the Cardinals either, though he was acquired by the organization when he was still a Minor League pitcher.
Miller to make start in first turn through rotation
PHOENIX -- Shelby Miller pushed his pitch count into the low 90s in a Minor League game on Saturday, flew to meet his teammates in Phoenix later in the day and then learned that he won't have to wait long before he takes the mound again.
After considering the option of skipping Miller during the team's first turn through the rotation, manager Mike Matheny has decided to give Miller a start on Saturday in San Francisco. The team's off-day on Thursday had allowed for the possibility of using only a four-man rotation this week, if the club had wanted to get Miller more work on the side.
"I'm excited for it," Miller said of facing the defending World Series champions. "I know they have a great team. It will be an unbelievable atmosphere to pitch in as well. I got a little feel of how it is there in the postseason last year. The postseason was awesome and great, but that was last year. I'm just trying to get wins for the team whenever it's my day. And I'm real excited to get the start."
The start will be just the second of Miller's career. He pitched six innings of one-hit ball against the Reds in the final game of the 2012 regular season. Miller then faced the Giants twice during the National League Championship Series last October. He allowed four hits and two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
Because he made only five Grapefruit League appearances, Miller stayed behind in Florida to get additional work on the backfields Saturday. Miller pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a Triple-A game, allowed four hits, one walk and struck out seven. "Good reports," manager Mike Matheny said when asked what he had been told about Miller's performance.
"I did pretty well," added Miller, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 2 prospect. "I left some pitches up, which raised my pitch count. Against those guys, I was getting a lot of foul balls. But I didn't give up any runs, had some strikeouts, gave up only one walk. I threw some good changeups and curveballs, as well. It was a nice little warm-up before the season gets under way."
In his 16 Grapefruit League innings, Miller gave up 17 hits and seven earned runs. He began the season in a three-way competition for the fifth rotation spot but ultimately beat out Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal to earn a place on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster for the first time in his career.
• After an off-day on Saturday, the Cardinals held an afternoon workout at Chase Field on Sunday. The workout -- which included batting practice and defensive work -- lasted just over an hour.
• David Freese (lower back injury) remains at the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he has been taking swings and increasing his workload this weekend, manager Mike Matheny reported on Sunday. Freese is expected to play in extended Spring Training games this week. He hopes to be activated off the disabled list for the team's home opener on April 8.
• The Cardinals' uniforms on Monday will feature the Stan Musial patch that uniformed personnel will wear on their left sleeve throughout the season. The patch features a red No. 6 enclosed in a circle and overlapped by Musial's signature. A photograph of Musial also dons the front of the Cardinals' 2013 media guide. Musial died in January at the age of 92.
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.