The St. Louis Cardinals opening day roster has 3 likely surprises

The St. Louis Cardinals will have some surprises on their opening day list.

The Cardinals practiced at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in preparation for a festive Opening Day.

The club have high expectations for a championship run in 2022 under new manager Oliver Marmol. Albert Pujols’ return to one last run with the team where he started it all and celebrating Yadier Molina’s last season as a player at the club where he spent his entire career seems like a lot.

Pujols says he just wants to win another championship with the Cardinals, but he also has several potential records to break with the team. Breaking records in a Cardinals uniform will bring a lot of extra feelings for Pujols.

Molina and Adam Wainwright will have their 306th launch as a battery on Thursday. The two are likely to surpass the record of 316 games started held by Warren Spahn and Del Crandall.

Cardinals Opening Day Roster: 3 surprises

Jordan Hicks

The Cardinals announced Wednesday that Hicks will be the team’s fifth starter. Hicks has pitched just 10 innings for the Cardinals since 2019, according to a report by St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold. Hicks has withdrawn from the 2020 COVID-19 season due to health concerns as a Type I diabetic. He had a shortened 2021 season due to an elbow problem.

Hicks got some work in the Arizona Fall League.

Goold reported that Hicks will face the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. He’ll likely go three innings and be stretched from there. Hicks seemed excited and up for the challenge.

Andrew Knizner

As previously mentioned, this is Molina’s final season as a player with the Cardinals. Accordingly’s John Denton, Marmol has spoken to Molina about catching less and giving Knizner a chance to play more as he is expected to take the reins as a catcher next season. This will allow Knizner to work more with the pitching team and, more importantly, get him some at-bats. It will be important to build Knizner’s confidence to take over under Molina’s helpful eye.

Andre Pallante

Pallante, 23, made opening day as a bullpen arm. He was the Cardinals’ fourth-round pick in the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft. After excelling in the Arizona Fall League, he was a non-roster invitee this spring practice. He continued to impress.

In the spring, Pallante threw in three games and ended one with a save. In 13 batters faced, he gave up just one hit, one walk, and hit out four.

Pallante will fall into Marmol’s plans to use matchups. To stay with St. Louis after May 2, when rosters are reduced from 28 to 26 men, he must continue to impress. It will be interesting to see if he gets some work done on the days that Hiccup starts. Pallante could end up in a piggyback or long-term relief situation. The St. Louis Cardinals opening day roster has 3 likely surprises

John Verrall

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