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Cardinals' Lynn has his best start of spring

AP - Sports
Cardinals' Lynn has his best start of spring
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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Lance Lynn throws during the first inning of an exhibition spring …

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is impressed with Lance Lynn's steady improvement in spring training.

Lance Lynn delivered what was easily his best outing of spring training and three relievers made a first-inning run stand up for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 1-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Thursday.

Lynn allowed only two hits in six innings while striking out five. He retired the final 14 batters he faced.

''Lance Lynn was nasty,'' Matheny said. ''He got better every single start. He's got a little edge now to him. A lot of it comes from people second-guessing his offseason workout. Good. I hope he carries it for a long time.''

Edward Mujica, Trevor Rosenthal and Mitchell Boggs combined to allow only one hit over the final three innings to seal the victory and ensure that the Cardinals (16-14), who have one Grapefruit League game remaining, will finish with a winning record.

The Cardinals jumped to the lead in the first inning against Justin Nicolino, who will begin the season in the minors. Jon Jay bounced a double down the left field line, advanced to third on Matt Carpenter's sacrifice and scored on Matt Holliday's RBI single. Jay and Holliday both had two hits.

Miami concluded its spring with a 13-16 record.

Before the game, Miami president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said center fielder Gorkys Hernandez had not made the club and that reliever Wilson Valdez had been sent to Triple-A New Orleans.

Hernandez came to the Marlins last season as part of the trade that sent Gaby Sanchez to Pittsburgh. Hernandez is out of options, which has Beinfest exploring the trade market.

''We're limited, so we'll go to work on that,'' Beinfest said.

An impressive spring by 2009 Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan, healthy for the first time in a couple of seasons, and the development of utility player Chris Valaika prompted the decision to cut Hernandez.

Coghlan hit .306 during the spring and his 29 total bases led the Marlins. Hernandez hit .282 with only one extra-base hit.

''From day one he's looked good,'' Beinfest said of Coghlan. ''He came in swinging the bat well and he hasn't stopped. I would say that's really one of the positives coming out of camp is the way he played.''

Valaika gives the Marlins a player in the mold of former utility players Alfredo Amezaga and Emilio Bonifacio - someone who can be inserted into multiple infield and outfield positions.

''We always had an eye on him kind of early, because of the way he played the game,'' Beinfest said. ''Then we were waiting on the performance to catch up to the spunkiness and the grinding and all that stuff.''

The Marlins still have to settle on a backup catcher - between Kyle Skipworth and Koy Hill. Projected No. 2 catcher Jeff Mathis broke his collar bone early this spring and has yet to return.

Overall, first year manager Mike Redmond was pleased with the way his first camp unfolded.

''We've had a good spring,'' Redmond said. ''The things I wanted to accomplish here I've been able to do. I feel good. Is it perfect? No, it's not perfect. But I think opening day, when the bell rings, these guys are going to be excited and we are going to go out there and play with an energy and a focus and try to win some ball games.''

NOTES: St. Louis honored its Double-A Springfield team, presenting them with rings for winning the Texas League championship in 2012. ... St. Louis held a press conference to announce a 5-year, $97.5 million contract with pitcher Adam Wainwright that takes effect following this season. ... St. Louis plays its final spring training game on Friday in Port St. Lucie against the New York Mets. ... The Cardinals announced a spring attendance of 98,715 at Roger Dean Stadium, an average of 6,169 per game. St. Louis played in front of eight home sellout crowds. ... Beinfest admitted surprise at the slow speed of Logan Morrison's recovery from a knee injury. He said Morrison should resume baseball activities soon but did not have a timetable for Morrison's return to the major league club. ... With their Grapefruit League schedule complete, the Marlins head to New Orleans for Saturday's exhibition against their Triple-A affiliate, the Zephyrs.

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