The St. Louis Cardinals’ Kolten Wong gestures Thursday before touching home plate against the New York Yankees in Jupiter, Fla. Wong, a Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate and a non-roster invitee infielder at spring training, hit a two-run homer to tie the score during the ninth inning of the exhibition game. The Cardinals won 7-6 on a walk-off single by center fielder Adron Chambers.
By CHUCK KING
JUPITER, Fla. — Ivan Nova bolstered his bid to become a member of the New York Yankees’ rotation this season. The St. Louis Cardinals, meanwhile, got a look at how their shortstop situation might play out, and they might have seen a glimpse of another future infielder: Kolten Wong
Nova allowed one run on three hits in three innings, but Wong, a Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate, homered as the Cardinals scored three times in the ninth to beat the Yankees 7-6 Thursday.
“I feel really good right now. I was throwing strikes today,” Nova said. “The base hits were groundballs. It’s not like they are doubles. If I give a base hit on the ground, that’s good.”
New York manager Joe Girardi liked what he saw.
“He was pretty good, I thought,” he said. “His curveball was excellent. He threw a couple really good sliders. I thought the command of his fastball was pretty good. Good stuff for him.”
Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso homered later for the Cardinals, set to play the whole season without All-Star shortstop Rafael Furcal.
Before the game, the Cardinals said Furcal will undergo ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and expects to miss the year.
Kozma, Furcal’s likely replacement, hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and also singled. Descalso, who could also see time at short, hit a two-run homer in the seventh.
St. Louis rallied in the ninth. Wong. a non-roster invitee in the Cardinals’ minor league system, hit a tying, two-run homer and a pair of errors set up Adron Chambers’ winning single.
Joe Kelly’s audition for the Cardinals’ rotation didn’t go so well. He struggled to locate the strike zone, walking three batters and missing the strike zone with almost half of his 46 pitches.
“My stuff felt alive,” Kelly said. “I was a little erratic in the beginning. My timing was a little off. Take the positive out of it. I threw my changeup over. My curveball was better. They weren’t biting at it, but it wasn’t in the dirt like my first outing.”
Kelly had been battling Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller to be the fifth starter. A day earlier, manager Mike Matheny said Rosenthal would spend the remainder of the spring working as reliever.
Rosenthal and his triple-digit fastball were playoff sensations out of the bullpen following a late-season call-up last season. St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said he would be “shocked” if Rosenthal didn’t make the club as a reliever out of spring training.