JUPITER, Fla. -- Lance Berkman and several Cardinals teammates helped pull off a terrific April Fools' joke on Adam Wainwright during Sunday's game.
The pranksters had the public address announcer give away a car to a fan, who, playing along with the gag, ran onto the field to collect his gift. Berkman drove the vehicle -- Wainwright's white Chevy Silverado -- onto the field and past an unsuspecting Wainwright, who did a double-take at the license plate while sitting in the dugout.
The winning fan, who was David Freese's cousin, jumped into the back of the truck and Berkman drove out of the stadium.
Descalso, Greene to share duties at second
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' scrutinized spring second-base competition will end without a sole winner, though manager Mike Matheny doesn't want this misconstrued as disturbing news. Rather, he feels both candidates -- Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene -- have shown enough to warrant consideration for regular-season starts at the infield position.
Matheny refrained from using the word platoon when describing how he'll handle his second-base options early in the season. But he did describe a plan in which he'd go game-by-game in deciding who to put in the lineup.
"I still don't see it black and white," Matheny said. "I still see that there are a lot of things that are going to go into the equation. They've both proven to us that they're capable. It's going to once again be putting in the information to see which guy gives us the best chance in our mind that day."
Asked if that meant that the competition would be ongoing, Matheny replied, "I don't see it as a competition. I see it as integral parts into the larger puzzle and who is going to fit that particular day."
Matheny will have the ability to play to pitching matchups, since Greene hits right-handed and Descalso left-handed. He could also opt to put the stronger of the two defensively, which would be Descalso, out on the field in games where the Cards expect lots of ground-ball outs from their pitchers.
The two infielders had similar offensive results this spring, with Descalso getting hot early in March and Greene collecting most of hits during the latter part of Grapefruit League play. Both committed four errors. Given that the Marlins are starting right-hander Josh Johnson on Opening Day, best guess is that Descalso will get the season's first second-base start.
Several regulars to play in Double-A exhibition
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals' travel roster for Monday evening's game in Springfield, Mo., has been nearly finalized and includes several players set to be on the team's Opening Day roster. Matt Holliday, David Freese and Jon Jay are among those who will start behind right-handed pitching prospect and Missouri native Trevor Rosenthal.
Other position players making the trip to Springfield will be Shane Robinson, Erik Komatsu, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene. Manager Mike Matheny will also bring along most of his big league relievers. The starting pitchers, as well as Yadier Molina, Lance Berkman, Rafael Furcal and Carlos Beltran, will remain in Florida.
The Cards will face players from the Double-A roster in that game. Lefty Tyler Lyons gets the start for Springfield. The rest of St. Louis' bench will be filled by Minor League players set to begin the year in high Class A Palm Beach.
The trip will be a true barnstorming one, as the Cardinals will fly to Missouri on Monday afternoon and return to Florida after the game. Everyone will stay the night in Jupiter, Fla., before taking a bus to Miami on Tuesday for a workout in the Marlins' new ballpark.
One concern the Cardinals won't have on Monday is the weather, which has the potential to still be dicey this early in spring. However, the forecast calls for the temperature to be close to 80 degrees at first pitch, which is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. CT.
Garcia's outing caps strong spring by starters
JUPITER, Fla. -- Jaime Garcia's six-inning, one-run performance against the Nationals on Sunday capped a strong spring showing by the left-hander and by the team's starters as a group. The five members of the Cardinals' starting rotation combined for a 2.24 ERA, 75 strikeouts and 27 walks in 108 1/3 Grapefruit League innings.
"They reached the plateau, the goals that we wanted them to reach," manager Mike Matheny said. "They did a nice job of buying into our overall philosophy -- throwing strikes, pitching to contact, pitching ahead in the count. And I think they were rewarded for how they went about it."
Garcia allowed only five hits to the Nationals, and the only one that went for extra bases was Danny Espinosa's sixth-inning homer. He was able to maintain a rather low pitch count (79) by getting several swings early in counts.
Matheny specifically lauded Garcia's use of the changeup. The lefty himself said he was pleased with his full repertoire of pitches.
"It was a good one," Garcia said of the start. "[I have been] getting my work in and feeling good and just going into the season healthy and with the right mindset."
Garcia is scheduled to make his regular-season debut in Milwaukee on Friday, which will be the team's second game of the year.
Cards work out at new Marlins park Tuesday
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals will hold a mid-afternoon workout at the Marlins' new stadium on Tuesday in advance of opening the season there on Wednesday night.
Such workouts commonly precede Opening Day, but Tuesday's will be unique in that it will offer the Cardinals their first glimpse inside baseball's newest park. Several players and staff have driven by the structure -- which manager Mike Matheny described as looking "like a spaceship" -- but no one has toured the inside.
Tuesday's workout will provide an opportunity for that initial walkthrough.
"It's a big yard, I'll tell you that," Matheny said. "Getting the outfielders balls off the bat, giving the infielders balls off the bat is important. I think it's important every time you go to a new stadium. These guys go about it the right way. They know it's part of the investigation."
Besides the position players, Kyle Lohse will also take a particularly keen interest in the dimensions and nuances of the ballpark. Lohse will start Wednesday's game for St. Louis, which won't play its other games in Miami until June.
"I don't know anything about it," Lohse said of the ballpark. "It'll be a new experience."
Lance Berkman opted to take his at-bats in a Minor League game on Sunday so that he could face right-handed pitching. The Cardinals were facing lefty Gio Gonzalez in Sunday's Grapefruit League game. Ensuring that he'd face a right-hander, the switch-hitting Berkman was able to get looks from the left side. Berkman had four plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. His out was a hard grounder right back at the pitcher.
Skip Schumaker (strained right oblique) carried his bat out to Roger Dean Stadium when he went to accompany his teammates during their morning conditioning drills. Schumaker then took the bat into the cages, where he took some swings. His progression back from the injury will be slow, but he said he's feeling "all right."
Also continuing his rehab work is Allen Craig (right knee surgery), who went through a fairly extensive running program on Sunday morning. He tested his knee during several sprints.
With no more Spring Training games left, Adam Wainwright will get his work in on Monday by throwing a live batting practice session on one of the Cardinals' practice fields. Monday would be Wainwright's normal day to pitch on four days' rest.
The Cards officially announced their Opening Day roster after Sunday's game, though manager Mike Matheny had already revealed what the final moves would be two days ago. The 25-man roster features six players who have never been in the big leagues on Opening Day.
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.