Dominguez homers as Marlins top Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Albert Pujols swung at the first pitch he saw of spring training, his job with the St. Louis Cardinals in absolutely no jeopardy.

Matt Dominguez doesn’t have that luxury with the Florida Marlins.

Trying to win a spot on the Marlins’ major-league roster, Dominguez hit a two-run homer in his first plate appearance as Florida opened its formal spring training schedule Monday with a 6-3 win over the Cardinals.

“Made solid contact and it happened to go out,” said Dominguez, the Marlins’ first-round pick in the 2007 amateur draft. “Not only just getting a hit, but a home run in the first at-bat, it’s kind of big.”

Florida’s Gaby Sanchez was 2-for-2 with a two-run double. Marlins starter Anibal Sanchez allowed two hits and a run in two innings, throwing 18 of 27 pitches for strikes.

Lance Berkman was 2-for-2 with a home run for St. Louis. Pujols went 0-for-2 for the Cardinals, who announced during the game that right-hander Adam Wainwright had elbow ligament-replacement surgery earlier in the day in St. Louis.

Only in Game 1 of spring training, there was no shortage of injury news for St. Louis. Beside Wainwright’s surgery, infielder Nick Punto returned to the team’s spring facility four days after undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia.

Punto is expected to be out 8-12 weeks.

“We’re trying to be progressive with the rehab,” Punto said. “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I think I’ll be back before May.”

The Cardinals were aware of Punto’s hernia problem when they signed him in January, and are allowing him to do nothing but walk for the next 7-10 days.

“There’s a lot of season left when he comes back,” manager Tony La Russa said.

Cardinals starter Raul Valdes allowed four runs and five hits in two innings.

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