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by Chuck King, AP

(Jupiter, FL) (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals have told reliever Carlos Villanueva he will be on their 25-man opening-day roster.

“We talked to him about him being a part of our club, so today was a good morning for him,” manager Mike Matheny said Monday.

Shortly after the first pitch of Monday’s game against Washington, the Cardinals selected Villanueva’s contract from Triple-A Memphis.

St. Louis also placed left-hander Jaime Garcia on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Friday. Garcia experienced discomfort in his surgically-repaired left shoulder following Tuesday’s simulated game.

Villanueva, a 31-year-old right-hander, agreed to a minor league contract in February and had the right to request his release if not added to the roster by Monday. He will get a $2 million, one-year contract and the chance to earn $500,000 in performance bonuses: $250,000 each for three and six starts.

Under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, St. Louis had until Tuesday to give Villanueva written notice he would be on the opening-day roster, pay $100,000 retention bonus or release him.

A nine-year veteran who is 45-50 with a 4.26 ERA, Villanueva spent the past two seasons as part of the Chicago Cubs bullpen and starting rotation.

“Having the flexibility that he gives us – the ability to be a guy that can be a long man for us, that could step in and throw multiple innings, and could also just come in and get some outs for us as guys need time – all that is valuable,” Matheny said.

Villanueva is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA in seven exhibition games. He has struck out 11 and walked two in 11 innings.

“I saw more strikeouts than I was expecting to see, which is valuable,” Matheny said. “I saw a guy in big situations, when he started getting into a mess, figured out how to get out of it and that’s kind of been his M.O. We see a guy that can help us in some tight situations, hopefully get us out of some messes.”

Villanueva arrived at the Cardinals spring training complex on Monday hoping he’d done enough to make the major league roster.

“To finally feel that I can wear the jersey now and feel a part of the group 100 percent – it’s a good feeling,” Villanueva said.

by Alan Eskew, AP

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson works the first inning against the Kansas City Royals in a spring training baseball game  Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Surprise, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson works the first inning against the Kansas City Royals in a spring training baseball game Sunday, March 29, 2015, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Edwin Jackson arrived at the ballpark in time for a solid spring start with the Chicago Cubs.

Jackson allowed one hit in 4 2-3 innings, and the Cubs hit three homers in a 7-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Jackson struck out three and walked one. He was hit hard in his previous outing after he had trouble finding Oakland’s spring ballpark.

Jackson is competing for the last spot in the Cubs’ rotation after going 6-15 with a 6.33 ERA last season.

“It’s not going to be judged off one start,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s something I don’t worry about. Like I’ve been saying from the beginning, just go out and be myself and at the end of the day, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. No need to worry about it, just go out pitch your game and let the pieces fall into place.”

Miguel Montero, Matt Szczur and Junior Lake homered for Chicago, and Tommy La Stella went 3 for 3 and scored a run.

Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez struck out eight in five-plus innings. He was charged with two runs and six hits.

“I think this is the best one of all of whole spring training,” Volquez said.

Montero went deep in the first. Lake connected in the eighth against Wade Davis, who did not surrender a home run in 72 innings last season. Szczur hit his fourth spring homer in Chicago’s four-run ninth off Royals closer Greg Holland.

BRYANT PLAYS LEFT

Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant, one of the top prospects in the majors, made his second spring training start in left field. The team wants its young players to be able to play more than one position.

“You never know the need will arise,” manager Joe Maddon said. “All of a sudden, you could have a need here, and he hasn’t played there.”

Bryant went 0 for 3 at the plate, striking out twice. His spring batting average dropped to .425.

STARTING TIME

Cubs: Jackson entered with a 7.59 ERA in 10 2-3 spring innings.

“Just a better job of making adjustments,” Jackson said. “Miggy (Montero) did a great job of controlling the game behind the plate, mixing up pitches. We also had some great defensive plays. It was a little bit of everything working in my favor today.”

Royals: Volquez said he is close to being where he wants to be to start the season.

“I don’t want to say 100 percent,” Volquez said. “I’m think I’m probably 90 percent.”

OUT AT HOME

Cubs second baseman Javier Baez threw out Jarrod Dyson and Alex Gordon at the plate in the third inning. Gordon tried to score from first on Kendrys Morales’ double.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: OF Chris Denorfia has not played since March 17 because of a hamstring injury.

Royals: RF Alex Rios returned to the lineup after missing three games with a right thumb issue.

BAD OVERALL DAY

The Royals managed just three hits, and key relievers Davis and Holland allowed a total of five runs and six hits in a combined 1 2-3 innings.

“My fantasy NACAR team did as bad as we did today,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “It was a bad day all the way around. My A driver is Jimmy Johnson, who normally runs good at Martinsville, but he finished 35th today.”

UP NEXT

Cubs: RHP Kyle Hendricks starts Monday against the Giants.

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas starts Monday against Texas.

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Dillon Gee allowed singles to four of his first five batters, then settled in to pitch seven innings Sunday in the New York Mets’ 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Matt Carpenter and Jason Heyward opened the first with singles, but left fielder Michael Cuddyer threw out Carpenter at third. Matt Holliday singled, and the Cardinals pulled off a double steal, and shortstop Ruben Tejada turned Matt Adams’ liner into an unassisted double play.

Jhonny Peralta singled leading off the second, and Yadier Molina grounded into a 1-6-3 double play. Gee wound up allowing two runs and seven hits. Heyward hit an RBI triple in the third and scored on Holliday’s sacrifice fly.

“I definitely started executing a lot better as the game went on,” Gee said. “Early, I had trouble finding everything. Luckily, today I think the cutter allowed me to stay in the game long enough to figure it out.”

Lucas Duda had three hits, and Curtis Granderson had two hits and a walk.

Cardinals starter Marco Gonzales, pitching because Jaime Garcia’s shoulder is ailing, gave up one run, three hits and three walks in 4 2-3 innings.

Gonzales could start the season in the rotation, in the bullpen or in the rotation of Triple-A Memphis.

“I think those are three viable options,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said.

STARTING TIME

Mets: Collins wasn’t ready to say Gee will be in his starting rotation. “We’re going to wait a while,” Collins said. “We’ve got (Rafael Montero) tomorrow so we are excited to see that and we’ll make a decision as we go.”

Cardinals: Sunday’s start was the final in the Grapefruit League for Gonzales but he’ll likely get the ball on Friday when the Cardinals play an exhibition game at Memphis.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: Closer Bobby Parnell, returning from Tommy John surgery last April, threw 16 pitches in a minor league game and is on pace to make his 2015 debut in May. Second baseman Daniel Murphy took at-bats in a minor league game again on Sunday but can’t run because of a sore hamstring.

Cardinals: Garcia is expected to meet with team doctors in the coming days. The club doesn’t have a time table for Garcia’s return to the mound.

SITUATIONAL PLAY

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will try to use his bench players as frequently as possible in situations they’ll encounter in the regular season during the final week of spring training. That will mean bringing left-handed reliever Randy Choate into games to face left-handed hitters. Choate allowed a double to Granderson and, following an intentional walk, an RBI single to Duda.

NO CONCERN FOR WONG

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, who is hitting .147, was given a day off. “He’s doing a lot of little things right,” Matheny said. “He’s not had a lot of results.”

CARDS MOVES

St. Louis optioned catcher Ed Easley, infielder Dean Anna and Xavier Scruggs to Memphis. The Cardinals also reassigned infielder Jacob Wilson to minor league camp.

UP NEXT

Michael Wacha is to make his final spring training start Monday against Washington and Taylor Jordan. The Mets play Miami and Dan Haren.

by Jeff Berlinicke, AP

Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera watches the path of his two-run home run during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Lakeland, Fla., Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera watches the path of his two-run home run during the first inning of a spring training exhibition baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals in Lakeland, Fla., Saturday, March 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Miguel Cabrera hit his second home run of the spring and raised his average to .385, leading the Detroit Tigers past the St. Louis Cardinals 4-3 Saturday.

Cabrera was playing in his sixth game of the spring while recovering from offseason surgery on his right ankle. It was his sixth straight game of the spring, and he will sit out Sunday against Philadelphia.

Shane Greene, acquired during the offseason from the New York Yankees, allowed three runs in five innings for the Tigers. He also walked three while striking out six.

“I’m just trying to make pitches and build for the season,” Greene said. “I’ve felt better every time out. For opening day, I couldn’t be more ready.”

Greene is penciled in at the No. 4 or 5 slot in the Tigers’ rotation behind David Price, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez. Alfredo Simon is also at the back end of the rotation.

Alex Avila homered for the Tigers.

STARTING TIME

Cardinals: Lance Lynn started his third game of the spring and allowed six hits and two runs in five innings. He walked none and struck out five.

TRAINER’ ROOM

Cardinals: LHP Jamie Garcia has told the team he has some problems with his surgically repaired left shoulder. He went 3-1 with a 4.12 ERA seven starts for the Cardinals last season and was expected to vie for the fifth spot in the rotation. Manager Mike Matheny said there were no immediate plans for an MRI.

Now it’s a hit the brakes and that takes time,” Matheny said.

Garcia was supposed to start on Sunday but Matheny immediately shut him down indefinitely.

Tigers: Justin Verlander is still struggling with a cramp in his right triceps, but isn’t expected to miss a start. Verlander came out of Friday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“He was a little sore today,” said Tigers manager Brad Ausmus. “We aren’t ruling out that it is a strain. If it is a strain, it is extremely mild. I’ve never heard of a strained tricep.”

Ausmus said he is confident that Cabrera and Victor Martinez will be ready for opening day. He is more confident in Cabrera, but both have played the last several games and not shown any signs of the injuries that have delayed their spring training.

“I’d be surprised if Miggy isn’t ready for opening day,” Ausmus said. “I’d be more surprised about Victor.”

RHP Bruce Rondon is day to day with neck stiffness. Ausmus said it isn’t anything serious. Rondon missed all of 2014 after right elbow reconstructive surgery last spring.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Rookie Marco Gonzalez will make his fifth appearance of the spring in Jupiter, against the New York Mets.

Tigers: Sanchez will head to Clearwater to take on the Philadelphia Phillies. It will be his sixth start of the spring.

STEALING AWAY

The normally slow-footed Tigers lead the majors in stolen bases this spring with 25. Anthony Gose has five and Wynton Bernard and Jose Iglesias have three.

STILL SLUMPING

Iglesias had a single, but his spring batting average is still only .105. Ausmus said he had no concerns and was happy that Iglesias has played three straight full games at shortstop after missing all of 2014 with stress fractures in both shins.

LAST MAN STANDING

OF Stephen Piscotty has played in every Cardinals game this spring. He’s a non-roster player and is batting .262.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock each hit their first homers of spring training in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 10-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.

Omar Infante had three hits, including two doubles, and Paulo Orlando drove in two runs for the Royals, who used a five-run seventh inning to win and finished with 17 hits.

The game was delayed for five minutes between the top and bottom of the sixth inning because of a swarm of bees.

Alex Liddi’s two-run double tied it at 5 for the Royals in the seventh, and Gabriel Noriega singled to score Liddi and put Kansas City ahead. Orlando doubled home Noriega, and Moises Sierra capped the rally with an RBI double.

“The young guys came through with some big hits,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Pollock got the Diamondbacks’ first hit when he doubled off the right-field wall in the fourth. One out later, Goldschmidt homered to tie the game at 2. Arizona took its first lead in the fifth when Pollock homered with Nick Ahmed aboard to make it 4-3.

The Royals tacked on two runs in the ninth when Ethan Chapman singled in Whit Merrifield, and Rob Navarro’s throwing error allowed Liddi to score.

STARTING TIME

Royals: Danny Duffy allowed seven hits and four runs, all earned, with seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings. He threw 91 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Duffy, penciled in as the No.2 starter, cruised through the Diamondbacks’ lineup once, then ran into trouble in the fourth and fifth innings, giving up the homers to Goldschmidt and Pollock. Duffy said he felt strong the entire outing and he feels his velocity is good.

“My saying this spring is `Try Less Hard,’” he said. “After nine seasons, I’m ending spring training where I want to be.”

Last season Duffy, who turned 26 in December, started a career-high 25 games. He went 9-12 with a 3.83 ERA.

Diamondbacks: Jeremy Hellickson went 4 1/3 innings and gave up eight hits and three runs, all earned, with three strikeouts and a walk.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said the team will decide after RHP Daniel Hudson’s next outing whether he will begin the season as a starter or reliever.

“That’s fair to him to him and fair to everybody else,” Hale said, adding that other pitchers in the organization are waiting to learn what their roles will be based on Hudson’s situation.

Hudson is recovering from two Tommy John procedures. Hudson missed most of the 2012 season, the entire 2013 season and returned to the team late last year, making three relief appearances.

“I don’t know if you’ve heard me say this,” Hale said, “but 2015 for him is just about getting healthy, get through the season healthy.”

CROWDS

The game Saturday was a sellout, drawing 13,258 at Salt River Fields, the Diamondbacks’ Cactus League home. The Diamondbacks entered Saturday’s games averaging 11,881 fans per game, second behind the Cubs.

UP NEXT

Royals: RHP Edinson Volquez (1-2, 9.49) will face the visiting Cubs and RHP Edwin Jackson (1-1, 7.59) Sunday.

Diamondbacks: RHP Aaron Blair (1-0, 2.57) will face Rockies RHP Christian Bergman (0-0, 2.31) Sunday at Estadio Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. This is the 10th season the Diamondbacks have visited Hermosillo.

“It’s a good time,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “I played winter ball. It’s a party atmosphere. People know their stuff. We’ll have a packed house.”

Columbus Blue Jackets' Scott Hartnell, left, loses a glove as he pushes St. Louis Blues' Zbynek Michalek, of the Czech Republic, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 28, 2015, in St. Louis. The Blue Jackets won 4-2. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Columbus Blue Jackets’ Scott Hartnell, left, loses a glove as he pushes St. Louis Blues’ Zbynek Michalek, of the Czech Republic, during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, March 28, 2015, in St. Louis. The Blue Jackets won 4-2. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The streaking Columbus Blue Jackets keep finding ways to win against the top teams of the Western Conference.

After defeating Anaheim on Tuesday and then Chicago on Friday, the Blue Jackets got goals from William Karlsson, Jack Johnson, Boone Jenner and Cam Atkinson to beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Saturday night.

“It’s not an easy place to play, especially back to back, both in Chicago and here,” Columbus coach Todd Richards said. “It’s a good job by the guys. Six periods of, I think, hard hockey where they put it on the line. We weren’t perfect, but the compete is there and that’s what you want. It leads to the resiliency and finding ways to win hockey games.”

Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves to help Columbus (36-35-4, 76 points) win its sixth straight overall and eighth straight on the road. The Blue Jackets have won nine of their last 10, including three wins in shootouts and one in overtime.

“We haven’t talked at all or didn’t notice that we’ve had a road streak going,” Johnson said. “Really, we’ve just been talking about winning, trying to keep the winning streak going, regardless of whether we’re on the road or at home.”

Patrik Berglund tied it at 1 in the opening minute of the second period, and Vladimir Tarasenko evened it at 2 with 5:16 to go in the period for St. Louis (46-22-7, 99 points), which was coming off a 3-1-2 road trip.

The Blues fell to 24-10-2 at home this season.

“I thought the difference in the game was the game was in their end quite a bit, but their ability to defend was greater than our tenacity to come up with loose pucks and score,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They were off back-to-back. If we would have played in the first and second like we did in the third, we could have really worn them down. We didn’t play that way.”

Karlsson gave Columbus a 1-0 lead with his first goal with the Blue Jackets after taking a cross-ice pass from Scott Hartnell and slipping a wrister under the pads of Brian Elliott at 7:06 of the first period.

The Blues tied it 52 seconds into the second period when Berglund scored his ninth of the season off a pass from Jaden Schwartz on a 2-on-none breakaway.

Johnson put Columbus ahead 2-1 with a power-play goal from just inside the blue line at with 8:21 to go in the period.

Tarasenko then tied it a little more than 3 minutes later with a power-play goal of his own, his 36th of the season.

Jenner gave the Blue Jackets the lead for good with a tap-in off a nice pass from Ryan Johansen with 20 seconds left in the period.

“It was a great goal,” Richards said. “Great patience by Jo, and Boone does a good job of opening up and giving him a target and then Jo makes a great pass.”

Atkinson added an empty-netter, his 20th, with 1:18 left.

“I liked the way that we started, as far as our energy,” Richards said. “You could see I think the game last night took a lot out of us, I think, on both a physical but also emotional level. We didn’t have a lot of gas in the tank in the third period, but the guys battled hard with what they had and found a way to win the game.”

NOTES: St. Louis F Alexander Steen, the Blues’ second-leading scorer, collided with a Columbus player in the first period and did not return (lower-body injury). Hitchcock did not have an update on Steen’s condition. … Blues F T.J. Oshie missed the game because of an illness. … Blues D Kevin Shattenkirk returned to the lineup after missing 25 games with an abdominal injury. St. Louis D Carl Gunnarsson returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. … Schwartz played in his 200th career game. … Columbus announced before the game that F Rene Bourque would miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his back.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ryan Dungey raced to his sixth AMA Supercross victory of season Saturday night, beating Eli Tomac in the 450SX Class event at the Edward Jones Dome.

Dungey led all 20 laps en route to his 20th career 450SX victory. The KTM rider extended his season lead to 80 points over Honda’s Eli Tomac with four races left.

Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson was third, followed by Honda’s Cole Seely and Yamaha’s Weston Peick.

KTM’s Marvin Musquin raced to his fifth Eastern Regional 250SX in seven events, leading all 15 laps. He has a 20-point lead over Honda’s Justin Bogle entering the series finale April 25 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

by Alan Eskew, AP

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura follow through with a delivery against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura follow through with a delivery against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning of a spring training baseball game Friday, March 27, 2015, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Yordano Ventura pitched seven innings of no-hit ball before being lifted because of pitch count, leading the Kansas City Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

The Royals’ opening-day starter walked two and struck out four, facing only one batter over the minimum. Ventura, who threw 49 strikes in 88 pitches, retired the final 11 batters he faced after walking Seth Smith to lead off the fourth. Ventura induced Nelson Cruz to ground into a double play to end that inning.

“It was his day,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He was good, really good, great stuff.”

Ventura said he realized he had a no-hitter going after five innings, but knew he would not be allowed to complete it.

“Everybody knows it’s spring training,” Ventura said. “If you’re throwing a no-hitter or a perfect game, you’re out of the game when you reach your pitch count.”

Ventura said the key for him was “throwing strikes.”

“Everything was working, every pitch,” Ventura said.

The Mariners did not get a hit until Tyler Smith’s RBI single off Jason Frasor with one out in the eighth. Frasor walked Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley before Smith laced a single to left for Seattle’s only hit.

Brian Flynn and Wade Davis completed the one-hitter.

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the first off James Paxton.

The Royals scored three unearned runs in the fourth after a fielding error on second baseman Tyler Smith. With two outs, Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas stroked back-to-back run-producing doubles.

After Paxton walked the next two batters to load the bases, he was replaced by Matt Anderson.

Anderson walked Escobar to bring home Moustakas.

“I wasn’t following through and I was spinning towards third base,” Paxton said. “I wasn’t really using my legs. It’s something I’ll have to go to the bullpen and fix.”

STARTING TIME

Mariners: Paxton said it was bad location on the pitch Hosmer hit out. “I was trying to go low and away and I left it low and in,” Paxton said. “He’s a left-handed power hitter, a low and in fastball that’s what he hits out of the ball park.”

Royals: Ventura had yielded 15 hits and eight runs in seven innings in his first three starts.

ROLLINS’ SUSPENSION RAMIFICATIONS

LHP Dave Rollins was having an outstanding spring – 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA in seven appearances – and the Rule 5 pick appeared on the verge to earning a spot in the Mariners’ bullpen before receiving an 80-game suspension after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.

“He’ll come off the 40-man roster,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik. “What we will do is wait for guidance from MLB on how this will all be handled. But he’s our property during the 80-game suspension. He will be allowed to stay here in Arizona. He will be under our supervision, and he can pitch and continue to work with the extended team.”

With Rollins suspended, if the Mariners opt to keep another lefty reliever beyond Charlie Furbush, the candidates are Tyler Olson and Joe Saunders.

McCLENDON TAKES FIFTH ON FIFTH

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he is not ready to announce the Mariners’ No. 5 starter, but it appears RHP Taijuan Walker is winning the battle over LHP Roenis Elias. Walker is scheduled to start Monday against the Angels, while Elias is not slated to start the next six games. McClendon said Elias might pitch in a minor league game. Walker has not allowed a run in five games and just six hits in 18 innings, while striking out 19.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mariners: SS Brad Miller was sent home with flu-like symptoms.

Royals: RF Alex Rios is sidelined with a right thumb injury, which he irritated in his final at-bat Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will start Saturday against the Giants

Royals: LHP Danny Duffy will start Saturday against the Diamondbacks.

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — The pitching-depleted Texas Rangers acquired left-hander Sam Freeman from the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday for a player to be named or cash considerations.

The 27-year-old Freeman was 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in a career-high 44 relief appearances last season with the Cardinals. He pitched once against the Dodgers in the playoffs.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said he expects Freeman, who is out of minor league options, to make the opening day roster.

“He’s got a good arm and the acquisition price was right,” Daniels said. “We’ll bring him in here and give him an opportunity.”

The Texas pitching staff has been beset by health problems in spring training, including a season-ending injury to ace Yu Darvish.

VIERA, Fla. (AP) — Washington first baseman Ryan Zimmerman made an early exit after jarring himself diving for a grounder, and the Nationals said he was OK after a 1-1 tie with the split-squad St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.

The oft-injured Zimmerman made a dive to the left, and was pulled after the second inning.

“He’s good,” Williams said. “He’s played three in a row. He’s fine. He dove for that ball, banged himself a little bit. But he’s good. No worries. … If he had to play, he could play. No issues.”

Injuries have been a recurring theme for the Nationals this spring.

Center fielder Denard Span had surgery on March 9 to repair a core muscle injury and won’t be back for opening day. That same day, third baseman Anthony Rendon sprained his left knee making a diving play – though the team initially said it was a short-term injury, he has not played since and his status for the opener is in doubt.

Right fielder Jayson Werth and backup outfielder Nate McLouth are both still rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery and might not be ready for the start of the season.

Most of the injuries Zimmerman has had throughout his career have come when he’s tried to make a diving stop.

“No more of those,” Williams said. “We don’t want any more of those. He’s good, though.”

Zimmerman was not on the Nationals’ travel roster for Saturday’s road game against the New York Mets. That was likely a planned thing since, as Williams mentioned, he has played three consecutive games. Washington hosts the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

Nationals closer Drew Storen made his second spring training appearance and threw one scoreless inning. He had not pitched since March 11, two days before the righty had surgery to remove a bone in his left hand.

Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann allowed one run over six innings.

Carlos Martinez, vying for the fifth spot in the St. Louis rotation, gave up one run in five innings.

Jose Lobaton had three hits for the Nationals, including a pair of doubles. The game was stopped after nine innings.

ZIMMERMANN NOT OPTIMISTIC

Despite dealing with a nasty crosswind that made his breaking pitches hard to control, Zimmermann had his longest outing of the spring.

Not only is the right-hander closing in on the start of the season, but also his opening day deadline to get a contract extension worked out with the team.

“I’m not going to talk during the season, so if something gets done before the season, which is probably pretty rare right now, then it gets done,” Zimmermann said. “But it’s not looking good.”

STARTING TIME

Martinez said he thought this was his best outing of the spring. A candidate for the fifth starter spot, he believes he has stated his case.

“I’ve been working hard,” Martinez said through a translator. “Some of the outings haven’t gone as good as I’ve wanted to, but I’m just trying to learn from that and get better every day.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

OF Bryce Harper, who was sent home with a stomach bug on Thursday, was back in the lineup Friday and went 1 for 4.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Lance Lynn gets the start as the Cardinals travel to Lakeland to face the Tigers.

Nationals: Stephen Strasburg starts as Washington travels to Port St. Lucie to play the New York Mets. He missed his previously scheduled start because of a twisted left ankle. Williams said Strasburg will likely go four innings.