Right-hander Joe Kelly, who made 16 starts last season, seemed to have the edge over right-hander Shelby Miller for the final starting spot in the St. Louis Cardinals' rotation, although Miller might well have the job by the end of the season.
Kelly didn't pitch particularly well in his first two spring starts but was good in his third outing. Miller, following Kelly in the March 14 game, wasn't quite as efficient, although he had many more swings and misses.
No matter who emerges as the fifth starter, 22-year-old Trevor Rosenthal, so dominant in relief in the postseason last year, will open the season in the bullpen. Rosenthal struck out 15 batters in 8 2/3 scoreless innings during the playoffs. He was a starter in the minor leagues before arriving in St. Louis last summer.
In his first relief appearance after being told he wasn't going to be in the rotation any more, Rosenthal struck out the side, throwing 100 mph four times.
Manager Mike Matheny, calling Rosenthal, a weapon, said he was convinced the youngster would help the club more as a reliever. At least for now.
While Kelly and Miller jostled for a spot, right-hander Michael Wacha, the team's first-round draft pick last year, didn't allow an earned run through 11 2/3 spring innings, striking out 15. But Wacha, needing innings as a starter, was returned to the minor leagues. He has just 21 regular-season innings under his belt as a professional, but he still could make an impact in St. Louis this year.