Cardinals-Diamondbacks Preview

Adam Wainwright begins earning his newfound wealth on


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


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


”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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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