Diaz goes 2 for 2 in spring debut as Cardinals top Nationals 2-0
JUPITER, Fla. — Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz went 2 for 2 in his spring training debut for the St. Louis Cardinals and Adam Wainwright allowed three hits over eight innings Friday in a 2-0 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Diaz lined a single to left field in the second inning and grounded a single to center in the fourth. The Cuban defector agreed March 9 to an $8 million, four-year contract and could not play in a big-league exhibition game until obtaining a U.S. work visa. He is expected to be sent to minor-league camp soon and begin the season at Double-A Springfield.
"We need to get him exposed to this, and we are running out of time before he needs to go back and get work," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.
Wainwright, preparing for a March 31 opener at Cincinnati, dominated a Washington lineup devoid of regulars. He struck out seven and walked none, throwing 81 pitches.
"Today was exactly what I wanted to do — just incorporate everything and kind of go out and pitch like I would in a regular-season game," Wainwright said.
Wainwright became the first major-league pitcher to throw eight innings in a spring training game since the Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia against the Nationals last year.
Scheduled to throw 90 pitches, Wainwright retired Chris Snyder on a groundout that ended the eighth, walked to the dugout and joked to manager Mike Matheny that he was ready to pitch a complete game.
"The guy has got to get his work in," Matheny said. "It just happened to take eight innings to do it. We’re not going to tell him to be less efficient to try and save some innings."
Matheny said Wainwright likely would have a shorter spring training finale.
"I don’t really need to do a whole lot different than I did today, just kind of sharpen everything a little bit more and go from there," Wainwright said.
Yadier Molina hit an RBI groundout in the first, then walked leading off the third, advanced on Matt Holliday’s double off the top of the left-field wall and scored on Allen Craig’s sacrifice fly.
Matheny would have liked to have been behind the plate for Wainwight.
"It would have been fun to catch," the manager said. "He had everything working. He was working the sinker on both sides. I thought he used his fastball extremely well."
St. Louis second baseman Mark Ellis, who hasn’t appeared in a game since March 13 because of a sore knee, could play Saturday.
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The Cardinals have asked their pitchers to be a little more disciplined at the plate, and Matheny likes what he is seeing.
"We’re not looking for them to hit homers. We’re looking for them to put together tough at-bats and fight," he said.