Offense nonexistent in spring romp
by Chuck King
Associated Press Sports Writer
March 14, 2014 04:00 AM | 1509 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Braves reliever Cory Gearrin kicks at the mound after loading the bases in the sixth inning of Thursday’s spring game against St. Louis.
<BR>Associated Press photo
Braves reliever Cory Gearrin kicks at the mound after loading the bases in the sixth inning of Thursday’s spring game against St. Louis.
Associated Press photo
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JUPITER, Fla. — Lance Lynn rebounded from a bad outing to strike out his final eight batters and 10 overall in four innings Thursday during the St. Louis Cardinals’ 11-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Lynn ended his stint by fanning Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson.

“Today was a good day,” Lynn said. “The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I was able to make pitches.”

Lynn had allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief against Miami in his previous appearance. On Thursday, he allowed only one hit and walked none. He got a strikeout on every type of pitch other than his curveball.

“Everything was in the strike zone, and it was down for the most part, so that’s good,” Lynn said.

Atlanta starter Freddy Garcia gave up four runs — three earned — and six hits in four innings.

Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina hit RBI doubles in the first, and Jhonny Peralta’s two-out double drove in Holliday in the third. Xavier Scruggs hit a three-run double in a seven-run sixth.

STARTING TIME

Atlanta: Injuries are prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez to prepare for the possibility of entering the season with a four-man rotation.

Originally signed as insurance, Garcia would be among those four.

“I think he’s more valuable than just depth right now,” Gonzalez said. “He’s going to be in the rotation.”

The Braves won’t need a fifth starter until April 12. Gonzalez hopes that newly signed Ervin Santana would be ready to join the rotation by then.

St. Louis: The Cardinals said the Elias Sports Bureau determined Lynn is the only Cardinal to strike out 10 or more in spring training in last 20 years.

As Lynn headed to the clubhouse, the dozen or so Cardinals in the bullpen jumped up to congratulate and hug him.

TRAINER’S ROOM

St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) returned from Birmingham, Ala., where he was receiving therapy. The Cardinals hoped Garcia would be the lone left-hander in their starting rotation but has not thrown a ball since experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired shoulder during the second week of spring training.

Cardinals manager Mike Mathney did not give a timetable for Garcia’s activities.

Gonzalez said the Braves have been cautious with Ramiro Pena’s surgically-repaired shoulder, but he has no concerns over whether Pena will fill Atlanta’s utility role.

“He’s going to be our guy,” Gonzalez said.

REPLAY REWIND

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny joked he heard from “everybody in the commissioner’s office” about his comments regarding a close play at third Tuesday that he felt should have been overturned by video review.

Matheny said because the camera angles the replay official saw were different from the broadcast angles, he wanted to know whether what the team saw in the broadcast angles would have been clear and conclusive enough to overturn the call.

“I wanted ‘inconclusive’ to kind of have some barriers,” said Matheny, a proponent of replay review. “How much are they going to have to see?”

COMFORTABLE WITH GATTIS

Gattis caught back-to-back games for the first time this year and went 0-for-3 at the plate.

Gonzalez said he is expecting Gattis to catch 110 games this season.

“He caught 40-some games and he did a nice job,” Gonzalez said of 2013, when Gattis backed up Brian McCann. “I don’t think he’s a guy we are going to have to worry about behind the plate.”

MOVING AROUND

Jason Heyward has yet to play center field this spring training, but Gonzalez didn’t rule out the possibility of him playing there once the regular season starts.

“That option is always there,” Gonzalez said.

PROSPECT WATCH

With outfield prospect Oscar Taveras sidelined by ankle and hamstring issues, Stephen Piscotty is making the most of his playing time.

The Cardinals’ outfielder was hitting .389 entering Thursday’s game and made a sliding catch on a Gattis line drive in right field to end the first inning

“He’s squaring the ball up and doing a nice job in the outfield, too,” Matheny said.

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