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Cardinals finalize Opening Day roster, RHP Pallante makes team

Albert Pujols will start as the designated hitter for the Cardinals on Thursday’s Opening Day against the Pirates.
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) arrives for a spring training baseball game against the...
St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols (5) arrives for a spring training baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)(Sue Ogrocki | AP)
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 10:41 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The St. Louis Cardinals announced Monday that right-handed pitcher Andre Pallante has made the team’s 28-man Opening Day roster, making the 23-year-old former fourth-round draft pick the final piece to the club’s roster puzzle.

In conjunction with the Pallante announcement, the Cardinals revealed that the remaining non-roster holdovers from Major League camp--pitchers Jake Walsh and Connor Thomas, catcher Julio Rodriguez and infielder Cory Spangenberg--had all been either optioned or re-assigned to the minors.

The formal announcement of a transaction that had been anticipated for weeks--Jack Flaherty begins the season on the injured list following a PRP injection in his shoulder last month--leaves 28 players standing for the Opening Day roster. Due to the circumstances of a shortened spring training following the MLB lockout, teams will enjoy 28-man rosters during April. The roster size will shrink down to the standard 26 in early May.

The Cardinals roster appears to include 15 pitchers and 13 position players. We know with certainty four of the five pitchers that will pitch out of the starting rotation: Adam Wainwright, who will start on Opening Day this Thursday at Busch Stadium, along with Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas and Steven Matz.

The fifth rotation spot could be somewhat of a piggyback situation early in the season, with Drew VerHagen, Jake Woodford and Jordan Hicks considered possibilities for that final spot every fifth day. The other two will likely land in the bullpen. Giovanny Gallegos, Ryan Helsley, Kodi Whitley, Aaron Brooks and Nick Wittgren are the other right-handed pitchers destined for relief roles, with TJ McFarland and Genesis Cabrera available from the left side.

Though the Cardinals have not formally announced their 28-man roster yet, the infielders are expected to include Paul Goldschmidt, Tommy Edman, Paul DeJong, Nolan Arenado, Albert Pujols and Edmundo Sosa. In the outfield, it’s Tyler O’Neill, Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson, Corey Dickerson and Lars Nootbaar. Yadier Molina and Andrew Knizner will open the season as the team’s catching duo. Reporters down in Jupiter, Florida shared Monday that Albert Pujols would start as the designated hitter for the Cardinals on Thursday’s Opening Day against the Pirates, according to manager Oliver Marmol. It will mark 22 consecutive Opening Day starts for Pujols.

Selected by the Cardinals in the 2019 MLB Draft, Pallante impressed this spring with 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He allowed just one walk and one hit while striking out four batters. His Grapefruit League efforts carried over his strong momentum from the Arizona Fall League this past autumn, where he compiled a 1.29 ERA in 21 innings against some of the top prospects in the sport. His ability to produce groundballs off the bats of opposing hitters should be a strong match with a Cardinals defense that boasted Gold Glove Award winners at third base, second base and first base last season.