Cardinals rest most regulars in final spring tuneup

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals prospect Trevor Rosenthal pitched four perfect innings and the World Series champions rested most of their regulars Monday night in their final exhibition tuneup, a 3-2 victory over Double-A Springfield.

Ronny Gil, ticketed for Class-A Palm Beach and subbing for Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay, homered off Springfield reliever Keith Butler in the seventh, providing the difference.

The Cardinals open Wednesday night in Miami, the first regular-season game at the Marlins’ new ballpark.

Matt Holliday and World Series MVP David Freese played four innings apiece, each getting two at-bats, and reliever Kyle McClellan thwarted a rally by inducing an inning-ending double play in the fifth, the only inning worked by a big league reliever.

Lance Berkman, Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina did not travel with the club, nor did any of St. Louis’ starting pitchers. The Cardinals are faced with a demanding travel schedule this week and 27 games in 31 days against NL Central rivals.

The club was scheduled for an up-and-back trip from Jupiter, Fla., then it buses Wednesday to Miami and flies to Milwaukee for a weekend series.

Major League Baseball booked the Cardinals to open Miami’s new ballpark in December. That was a month after St. Louis rescheduled Monday’s exhibition.

Before the game, rookie manager Mike Matheny called Furcal the team’s “starting shortstop.”

But when asked if Furcal would be the opening-day shortstop Wednesday night, he said: “We’ll see.”

Furcal has been somewhat slowed this spring after offseason operations for a sports hernia and an appendectomy.

“We’re just trying to make sure we don’t push him too far,” general manager John Mozeliak said.

Rosenthal was 7-7 with a 4.41 ERA last season for Class-A Quad Cities. The right-hander worked both sides of the plate, throwing a heavy sinker and an effective curveball.

He is one of three highly rated farmhands skipping the high Class-A Florida State League this season, joining 19-year-old Oscar Taveras and 2011 first-round draft pick Kolten Wong, a second baseman prospect.

Carlos Martinez, considered the club’s No. 2 prospect behind pitcher Shelby Miller, worked the final four innings for St. Louis, striking out Taveras to end the game.

Taveras tripled off Martinez in the seventh, driving home Wong, and then scored on Xavier Scruggs’ groundout.

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