Wainwright, Cardinals face Kennedy, Diamondbacks

Adam Wainwright begins earning his newfound wealth on
Monday.

The right-hander will be on the mound in his third opening-day
start when the St. Louis Cardinals face the remodeled Arizona
Diamondbacks, who for the second year in a row will open with Ian
Kennedy.

Wainwright’s start comes four days after he agreed to contract
that guarantees him $109.5 million over the next six seasons. Last
year, Wainwright was 14-13 with a 3.94 ERA after missing all of the
team’s 2011 championship season because of elbow surgery.

” He’s the full package of the guy you look for in your ace,”
St. Louis right-hander Jake Westbrook said. ”He has all those
qualities. We are going to feed off of him and go from there.”

Wainwright leads a St. Louis team that, as always, begins with
high expectations. The Cardinals fully expect to supply Wainwright
and the rest of their pitching staff with plenty of run
support.

”I think we’ve been very good over the past two years,” said
first baseman Allen Craig, who also has a new contract, ”and I
don’t see any reason why we can’t be one of the best offenses in
the National League this year.”

The Diamondbacks, meanwhile, have traded right fielder Justin
Upton and added Martin Prado at third base. Three projected
regulars – outfielders Adam Eaton and Cody Ross, and shortstop
Willie Bloomquist – open on the disabled list.

”We don’t need any more injuries,” manager Kirk Gibson
said.

Neither do the Cardinals, who start with third baseman David
Freese and closer Jason Motte on the DL.

Eaton, the speedy rookie center fielder, is out for six-to-eight
weeks with an arm injury. He was to be the leadoff batter in a
lineup that wants to rely more on contact hitting than on home
runs.

Kennedy, a 21-game winner in Arizona’s NL West championship
season of 2011, started slowly last year but finished strong, going
15-12 with a 4.02 ERA overall.

Arizona catcher Miguel Montero raved about the rebuilt roster,
especially in terms of team chemistry.

”We’ve got a good solid lineup and bench players,” he said.
”More than that we’ve got good solid players with good
personalities and great attitudes. That’s great – veteran guys that
have been around winning ball clubs and can bring a lot to the
team.”

The most significant addition is Prado, who came to Arizona in
the deal that sent Upton to Atlanta. Prado will bat in his
customary No. 2 spot, with Aaron Hill dropping to third in the
batting order. Both Prado and Hill batted over .300 last
season.

Montero moves into the cleanup spot, at least for now. Gibson
has a history of juggling his batting order.

First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who just got a new contract
after just one full season in the majors, bats fifth, followed by
Jason Kubel, the only returnee from the Arizona openting-day
outfield a year ago.

Gibson, entering his third full season as Diamondbacks manager,
calls this ”a very close” group.

”They’ve had a good time, they work together, they talk about
the game, they’re engaged in the things that we’ve worked on,” he
said. ”They’ve been open to it. They haven’t been bored with it.
They’ve executed in the games. They’ve been open to looking at
themselves when things didn’t go the way we wanted, understanding
why mistakes are made. You can tell right now they’re ready for the
season to start. … There’s a lot of good conversation going on
about where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there.”

Mike Matheny opens his second season as Cardinals manager.

Centerfielder Jon Jay will bat leadoff for St. Louis.

”If you are hitting at the top of the order you definitely want
to score runs and we’ve got the guys who are capable of doing it,”
Jay said. ”My job is simple: get on base and hope we score a lot
of runs.”

Third baseman Matt Carpenter bats second ahead of left fielder
Matt Holliday, Craig, right fielder Carlos Beltran and catcher
Yadier Molina.

” Our lineup has a lot of depth in it and there’s a lot of
interchangeable parts,” Jay said. ”We have a good lineup. Guys
are going to be coming off the bench who could play every
day.”

Arizona will start slimmed-down right-hander Trevor Cahill on
Tuesday, and St. Louis goes with left-hander Jaime Garcia. On
Wednesday night, right-hander Brandon McCarthy makes his Arizona
debut in his first big league start since he sustained a horrific
head injury when he was struck by a line drive while pitching for
Oakland last September. Right-hander Lance Lynn starts the series
finale for the Cardinals.

The rotation for the Cardinals is perhaps the team’s biggest
uncertainty.

Asked whether he was comfortable with his rotation, Matheny
said, ”Comfortable is a word I don’t like because I don’t want
anybody feeling comfortable.

”I want everybody on the edge normally,” he said. ”Go out and
do their job, they can always do better, They can consistently
improve. That’s been a pretty common theme for us and I want them
to continue.”

AP Sports Writer R.B. Fallstrom in St. Louis contributed to this
report.

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx