With Joe Mather struggling to keep his spring batting average over .200, the Cardinals got creative Friday and sent regular rightfielder Ryan Ludwick to play in center.
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The team seems to still be searching for a backup to regular centerfielder Colby Rasmus who has been slowed by a bruised knee. Mather has had the inside track because of his versatility. But the move to see if Ludwick could handle the job could could be an indication that Mather has slipped behind corner outfielder Nick Stavinoha for the last roster spot.
Usually a corner outfielder, Ryan Ludwick played centerfield Friday against the Nationals. AP photo.
The Cardinals lost the game 7-3 to the Nationals. St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright gave up five earned runs -- for of them earned -- on eight hits at windy Space Coast Stadium. He struck out eight over six innings while walking one.
Ludwick had a non-eventful time in the outfield and was 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI. Mather came into the game late as a pinch hitter and was hitless in his lone at bat. Stavinoha continued to turn up the heat with a 2-for-4 day that brought his average to .370 for the spring.
Prospect Allen Craig played first base and was 0-for-3 at the plate with a pair of strikeouts and made an error in the field.
Matt Pagnozzi started the game in place of injured Cardinals received Yadier Molina and was 2-for-3 with a run scored.