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CHICAGO (AP) -- Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots for his second shutout this season, backstopping the Blackhawks to a physical 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night that gave Chicago coach Joel Quenneville his 700th NHL win.
 
It was a costly victory for the Blackhawks, though. Leading scorer Patrick Kane left the game at 7:56 of the second period, favoring his left leg as he headed to the dressing room following a collision with Brenden Morrow.
 
Kane is expected to miss about three weeks, Quenneville said.
 
Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith scored as Chicago ended the league-leading Blues' nine-game point streak (8-0-1) and dealt St. Louis its first regulation loss against a Central Division opponent this season. The Blues entered 20-0-2 against division foes and hadn't lost in regulation since a 1-0 defeat at Anaheim on Feb. 28.
 
Quenneville, who previously guided St. Louis and Colorado, has the most wins of any active NHL coach and ranks third all-time behind Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman, now the Blackhawks' senior adviser of hockey operations.
 
Crawford earned his 10th career shutout in Chicago's first win against the Blues this season after three losses.
 
Kane, who has 29 goals and 40 assists in 68 games, assisted on Keith's opening goal.
 
St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller lost in regulation for the first time since joining the Blues following a trade from Buffalo on Feb. 28. Miller, now 7-1-1 with St. Louis, was replaced by Brian Elliott at 7:58 of the third period after allowing four goals on 27 shots.
 
St. Louis needs one win to clinch a playoff spot for the 38th time in franchise history.
 
Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago entered the game tied with Colorado for second in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference.
 
The Blackhawks have struggled this season against their top rivals in the Central. Chicago entered Wednesday's game with only one win and five points in eight games against St. Louis and Colorado.
 
Keith scored the only goal in a physical first period on a power play with 58 seconds left.
 
After taking Kane's feed, Keith fired a drive from the top of the slot that zipped past Miller's stick side just as Shaw provided a screen by cutting across the crease.
 
The play got tighter and grittier in the second, and Chicago took a 2-0 lead thanks to Shaw's goal on a deflection with 4:25 left in the period.
 
Shaw's goal capped a determined, physical flurry by Chicago.
 
The Blackhawks were jamming the net when Patrick Sharp picked up a loose puck and fed back to Nick Leddy at the blue line. Leddy's drive ticked off the shaft of Shaw's stick and past Miller as Shaw battled for position in front of the net with Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.
 
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk threw a loose rebound behind Crawford during a St. Louis power play in the final seconds of the second, but the puck slid across the crease and to the far boards.
 
Kruger and Smith scored 2:15 apart in the third period to ice it for Chicago.
 
Following a long lead pass from defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, Kruger took a quick feed from Peter Regin in the slot and beat Miller from just outside the crease at 5:20 to make it 3-0.
 
Smith's power-play goal at 7:35 extended Chicago's lead to 4-0. He connected from the doorstep after taking a feed from Kris Versteeg behind the net after Miller stopped Leddy's shot from the blue line.
 
Notes: Blackhawks C Michal Handzus played in his 1,000th NHL game and was honored in a pregame ceremony. He turned 37 last week. ... St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko underwent surgery for a right hand injury sustained last Saturday at Nashville in the final minute of the game. He will be re-evaluated in six weeks. ... Blues RW T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing one game for the birth of his first child. ... Chicago LW Brandon Saad sat out his second game with an upper-body injury and is day to day.
Wednesday, 19 March 2014 23:12
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Tigers put to rest any questions of whether they would be motivated to play in the National Invitation Tournament.
 
After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years, Missouri overcame two 13-point deficits in the second half and won its NIT opener against Davidson 85-77 on Tuesday.
 
"There's a lot of teams that don't play," coach Frank Haith said. "We talked about competing. When you have a young team, you have a chance. You can use it as a springboard."
 
Jabari Brown scored 30 points, including his 1,000th career point at Missouri, and Earnest Ross added 16 for the Tigers (23-11), who advance to face the winner of Wednesday's matchup between Southern Mississippi and Toledo.
 
De'Mon Brooks led Davidson (20-13) with a career-high 29 points. The Wildcats ended their season with two consecutive losses after winning 13 in a row to win the Southern Conference regular-season title.
 
The legaue player of the year fought back tears after the game, saying he told his teammates in the locker room how quickly time flies.
 
"I've been at Davidson for the past four years," Brooks said. "It's changed my life. It's the best decision of my life coming to this school. I'd do anything for anything affiliated with Davidson."
 
Missouri trailed 54-41 with 16:52 remaining following a 16-4 run by the Wildcats but scored 12 of the next 16 points and took a 69-67 lead on a traditional three-point play by Johnathan Williams III with 6:05 left — Missouri's first advantage since the 10:41 mark of the first half.
 
Brown then sparked a 10-2 Missouri run to give the Tigers an 81-74 lead with 1:17 remaining. Davidson's Tyler Kalinoski hit a 3-pointer to end the streak, but the Wildcats could get no closer than four points the rest of the way.
 
Kalinoski finished with 16 points.
 
The Tigers played with a three-man bench following the arrests of freshmen guards Wes Clark and Shane Rector on Saturday for suspicion of 35 grams or less of marijuana. Tony Criswell sat out for a violation of team rules and Corey Haith watched while nursing an injury.
 
Despite Missouri playing shorthanded, Davidson coach Bob McKillop said the Tigers wore his team down. Davidson shot 51.5 percent (17 of 33) from the field in the first half but only 32.4 percent (11 of 34) after the break.
 
"(Jordan) Clarkson and Ross and Brown have the bodies of pro guards," he said. "Brian Sullivan certainly doesn't. They took advantage of that throughout the game. I think the guards overpowered us."
 
Missouri shot 58 percent (29 of 50) from the field, its best performance of the year behind a 62.3 percent performance at Mississippi State on March 1. Brown noted the importance of bench players such as Danny Feldmann, who contributed four points and four rebounds in a season-high 22 minutes.
 
"Danny really stepped up. He knows every word, where he's supposed to be on the court, offense and defense. He's not afraid to make plays," Brown said. "When the opportunity presents itself, he did that."
 
The Tigers improved to 2-7 all-time in the NIT in front of a season-low attendance of 2,403, with their only other win coming in 1996.
 
Tuesday, 18 March 2014 23:53
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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- There will be 1,000 people lined up early Thursday morning to get a seat at the LVH sports book for the start of the NCAA tournament, and most of them don't care that Michigan State was somehow relegated to a No. 4 seed.

Oddsmakers in this gambling city are treating the Spartans like a No. 1 seed anyway. Their numbers show a team that will likely be favored against everyone except Florida, no matter what the NCAA selection committee thinks.

"We certainly can point out the committee flaws like no one else can," said Jay Kornegay, who runs the popular LVH sports book. "Michigan State is a 4 seed yet we have them as the second favorite to win it all. That doesn't make much sense to us."

Michigan State got more respect at the LVH than it did in the NCAA selection room, with oddsmakers making the Spartans a 9-2 pick to win it all, second only to Florida at 4-1. The odds might have even been better, but bookies figure the Spartans will have to work a little harder to make the Final Four from a No. 4 seeding than if they were seeded No. 1 or No. 2.

The same type of reasoning bumped the odds up slightly on Louisville (15-1) and Michigan (25-1) because they must come out of a brutal Midwest region loaded with contenders.

"The Midwest region is one of the toughest regions we've ever seen," Kornegay said. "In my opinion it might be the toughest region of all time."

The seedings don't necessarily match their power ratings, but there's plenty for the bookies to like about this year's tournament. Thousands of people will jam sports books the first four days of play in a betting frenzy unmatched by anything other than the Super Bowl, and they will bring fistfuls of cash.

And without a dominant favorite, the sports books figure to do well.

"People every year talk about a tournament that is wide open, which to me is one where eight to 10 teams have a chance," said Johnny Avello, the book director at the Wynn resort. "Unpredictability is the stuff that the books love and this is one year we don't have one team anyone can say will win it hands down."

Among relative equals at the top, though, one team is more equal than the rest. Florida is not only the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 poll, but the odds-on pick at books up and down the Las Vegas Strip.

Avello said he lowered Florida to 3-1 because he has taken a lot of money on the Gators since first posting odds on them last April. Helping, he said, was a favorable bracket in the South that gives Florida a clear path to the Final Four.

"The favorite should be a team capable of winning that has the easiest route," Avello said. "And Florida has the easiest route, no question about it."

Florida is a 5-1 favorite in consensus odds compiled by RJ Bell, who does handicapping for Pregame.com. Bell lists Michigan State second at 6-1 among the 21 teams with odds of better than 100-1.

Louisville is another favorite of the oddsmakers that didn't get the seed they might have expected. The Cardinals must come out of the Midwest region as a No. 4 seed to make the Final Four, but there's a good chance they will be favored in every game they play in their region.

That's because the Vegas bookies, unlike the NCAA, put emphasis on recent play as more of a predictor of success than an entire season. Like Michigan State, Louisville finished strong in winning its conference tournament and looks ready to make a run.

"I was looking at a possible No. 1 for them," Avello said. "When I saw No. 4 I thought it was low for a team playing so well that is the defending champion. But that's what the committee does, I can't get involved with that."

Not much of a chance of that, though the pairings would be different if the bookies had their way.

"The committee guys ought to get some book guys involved," Avello said. "We'd get the brackets together."

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014 09:20
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — For the first time in six years, the Missouri Tigers are left out of the NCAA tournament.
 
As expected, the Tigers failed to earn a spot in the field of 68 when the brackets were announced Sunday. Instead, Missouri (22-11) earned a No. 2 seed in the National Invitational Tournament and will play Southern Conference champion Davidson (20-12) at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Mizzou Arena. It is Missouri's first NIT appearance since 2005.
 
"We're excited about playing in the NIT, a tournament that has great tradition," Missouri coach Frank Haith told the Columbia Tribune (http://bit.ly/1fRCfU2 ). "Obviously, our goal is to play in the NCAA Tournament every year, but we do have an opportunity to compete for a championship. There's a lot of teams that have unlaced their shoes."
 
Missouri was ranked in the top 25 early this season, but a 9-9 record in the Southeastern Conference doomed the chance for an NCAA berth. Just three SEC teams made the tournament field.
 
Missouri teams haven't fared well in past NIT appearances — the Tigers are 1-7 all-time, the lone victory over Murray State in the first round of the 1996 tournament. Missouri suffered first-round losses to Alabama-Birmingham in 1998, Michigan in 2004 and DePaul in 2005.
 
Davidson coach Bob McKillop's program has won in Columbia before, beating the Tigers 84-81 in an upset on Nov. 19, 2004 — Missouri's first loss in the new arena. The Tigers also lost to Davidson in 2005 but beat the Wildcats in 2006.
 
Adding insult to injury this season: Nine of the Missouri's former Big 12 Conference foes made the NCAA tournament — seven teams still in the Big 12 plus Colorado and Nebraska.
 
As he sat down to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show, Haith wasn't sure how to feel about the Tigers' chances.
 
"I think we were right there on the bubble with a lot of teams," he said. "When I saw Tennessee become an 11 and then Kentucky was an 8/9, I just felt like they didn't have a lot of respect for our league. That's what I thought."
 
In fact, North Carolina State (21-13), the last team in the field, finished below Missouri in the RPI (Missouri was No. 49, the Wolfpack No. 55). Both teams were 9-9 in their leagues and Missouri beat North Carolina State on Dec. 28 in Raleigh, N.C. But North Carolina State had the nation's 33rd toughest schedule. Missouri's schedule ranked 68th.
 
Missouri also posted victories over then-No. 18 UCLA and Mid-American Conference champion Western Michigan as part of a 12-1 non-conference record that vaulted the Tigers as high as No. 21 in the national polls.
 
The SEC opener was an overtime loss at home to Georgia, and the Tigers never had a signature win. They needed to make a run in the SEC tournament but lost to No. 1 Florida in the quarterfinals.
Monday, 17 March 2014 22:24
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Four Missouri athletes were arrested Saturday night on suspicion of possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana during a traffic stop in Columbia.
 
Guards Wes Clark and Shane Rector of the basketball team and defensive backs Aarion Penton and Shaun Rupert from the football team were pulled over at 11:32 p.m. after Columbia police noticed an expired rear license plate tag on Rupert's car, police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said Monday.
 
The officers approached the car and detected the smell of marijuana, prompting the discovery of a package of Swisher Sweets cigarillos containing a substance that tested positive for marijuana, Stroer said. The four athletes were each issued a court summons and released.
 
Columbia residents passed a referendum in 2004 that reduced penalties for the offense to no more than a court summons and a fine, if found guilty, of up to $250. The reductions do not apply to anyone found guilty of misdemeanor possession of marijuana on two or more occasions in the past five years.
 
The Columbia Daily Tribune first reported the arrests.
 
Basketball coach Frank Haith said Monday that Clark and Rector were suspended for the team's practice, but not necessarily for Tuesday's NIT opener against Davidson.
 
"I didn't know about it soon enough," Haith said, adding that the final decision would be made after gathering additional information.
 
Missouri missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years after finishing 22-11 and 9-9 in the Southeastern Conference.
 
Clark, a freshman from Detroit, has played in all 33 games this season as a backup point guard, averaging 20.4 minutes and 4.1 points. Rector, a freshman from New York, has averaged 4.3 minutes and 0.5 points.
 
With Tony Criswell suspended for an undisclosed violation of team rules and Corey Haith out with an injury, Missouri's bench would shrink to forwards Danny Feldmann, Torren Jones and Keanau Post, leaving Jordan Clarkson with no backups at point guard.
 
"You want me to dress out?" Haith said, slightly exasperated. "Who else can I put in? That could be a problem. It is what it is."
 
Penton is currently atop the depth chart at cornerback after appearing in every game of Missouri's 12-2 season last fall as a freshman. He recorded 16 tackles and an interception while Rupert, a safety, redshirted in his first year with the team.
 
Both Penton and Rupert were suspended indefinitely after the athletics department learned of their arrests, spokesman Chad Moller said. Their long-term status with the team would be determined after an internal review.
Monday, 17 March 2014 22:20
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- David Backes scored twice, and Ryan Miller made 16 saves in another win as the St. Louis Blues beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 on Monday night.
 
The Blues are 7-0-1 since Miller was acquired by trade from Buffalo. St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine.
 
Western Conference-leading St. Louis has an NHL-best 101 points. It is the sixth time in franchise history that the Blues have reached 100 points.
 
Backes has 23 goals this season. Brendan Morrow added a goal, and Jay Bouwmeester had two assists in the Blues' win.
 
Eric O'Dell had the lone goal for Winnipeg, and Al Montoya made 23 saves.
 
The Blues won despite the absence of players Vladimir Tarasenko and T.J. Oshie.
 
Tarasenko is expected to miss six weeks because of a hand injury sustained Saturday against Nashville. Oshie, whose first child was born earlier Monday, should be back for Wednesday's game at Chicago.
 
Backes broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal at 13:09 of the third period when he swatted in a rebound of Ian Cole's shot.
 
With 1:11 left, Backes was awarded a goal when he broke in on the Jets' empty net and was pulled down by Jacob Trouba.
 
After a listless first period, St. Louis took a 1-0 lead just 1:44 into the second. After Winnipeg's Devin Setoguchi failed to control a bouncing puck, Derek Roy took it and broke in on left wing. He centered a pass to Morrow on the right side for a shot into the open net.
 
The Jets took advantage during 4-on-4 play to tie it at 1:55 of the third. Evander Kane skated down left wing with O'Dell on a 2-on-1 break. Kane centered a pass to O'Dell, who faked a shot and then beat Miller with a backhand.
 
NOTES: St. Louis is 38-1-5 when scoring first and 30-0-4 when leading after two periods. ... Winnipeg is 8-13-5 against the Central Division. ... Blues coach Ken Hitchcock moved into sole possession of third place on the team's career win list with 119.
 
Monday, 17 March 2014 22:18
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Patrik Berglund scored twice to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Saturday night.
 
Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen had the other goals for the Blues, who have won seven of their last eight. The game also marked the fifth and final game of the season series between the Central Division rivals, with the Blues winning all five matchups.
 
Ryan Miller made 30 saves to improve to 6-0-1 since the Blues acquired him in a trade with Buffalo on Feb. 28. Two of those victories came against the Predators.
 
St. Louis is 19-0-2 against the Central this season.
 
Eric Nystrom scored for Nashville, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end. The Predators have lost their last five home games, all in regulation.
 
Berglund scored the game's first goal at 11:32 of the opening period. Nashville failed to clear the puck from inside its blue line, and Berglund grabbed it and skated to the top of the left faceoff circle, where he beat Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot.
 
Rinne started for the second game in as many nights, his first back-to-back set since returning to Nashville's lineup after missing 51 games with an infection in his right hip.
 
Berglund struck again at 2:02 of the second. He carried the puck into Nashville's zone on the right side and pulled up at the right faceoff dot, where he beat Rinne between the pads with a wrist shot.
 
It was Berglund's third two-goal game of the season.
 
Tarasenko made it 3-0 at 7:21 of the second when he collected a rebound off of the end boards and beat Rinne to the far post to record his 21st goal of the season. He has points in five consecutive games.
 
Nystrom scored Nashville's lone goal at 16:50 of the third after he collected the puck following a goalmouth scramble. The goal was Nystrom's 13th of the season.
 
Steen scored his 30th at 8:05 of the third on a one-timer from the top of the right circle off of a pass from Jaden Schwartz. It is the first 30-goal campaign of Steen's career.
 
NOTES: Nashville LW Viktor Stalberg played in his 300th career regular season game. ... This is the first time the Blues have swept the season series with Nashville. ... Tarasenko had five points in five games played against the Predators this season.
Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:34
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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) -- Joe Kelly pitched into the sixth inning and had three hits to help the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Saturday.
 
Kelly went 5 1-3 innings, allowing four hits and a run. He became the first pitcher to have three hits in a spring training game since Chris Volstad did it for the Marlins in 2010.
 
Kelly singled three times, drove in two runs and scored twice.
 
The right-hander made 37 appearances for the Cardinals last season, including 15 starts, and went 10-5 with a 2.69 ERA. He pitched into the postseason and said he feels like a permanent part of the staff heading into the season.
 
"I went deep into the game," Kelly said. "I had some quick outs and that should always be a goal for me. I saw the whole lineup."
 
The Braves, still reeling from the possibility of beginning the season without ailing pitchers Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen, started non-roster invitee Gus Schlosser, who allowed three runs, two earned, and four hits in four innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
 
Schlosser was expected to work out of the bullpen this season, but will likely stretch his arm out in Triple-A at the start of the year as an insurance policy for the starting rotation.
 
STARTING TIME
 
Cardinals: Kelly's outing was the longest by a St. Louis pitcher all spring. "That was a great performance," manager Mike Matheny said. "He was trying to be a one-man show today. He was still throwing up to 95-97 (mph) in the sixth and he was still going after the hitters. I liked what I saw."
 
Braves: Schlosser was his own worst enemy while allowing three runs in the third inning. He misplayed a grounder that led to the first run and put two runners in scoring position. "I felt good," Schlosser said. "I had one bad inning, but overall I did my job. I just tried to show what I can do if given the chance. I didn't feel out of my comfort zone at all." Schlosser has made 55 starts in his minor league career but hasn't pitched in Triple-A yet.
 
TRAINER'S ROOM
 
Braves: Medlen and Beachy are expected to get checked out Monday by Dr. James Andrews to see if they will need second Tommy John surgeries. ... SS Andrelton Simmons missed the game with a sore knee. He is day to day.
 
BATTING CHAMP FOR A DAY
 
Kelly said the Cardinals are stressing that their pitchers spend more time on hitting, and it paid off with his 3-for-3 day. "We were one of the worst-hitting teams in baseball last year when it came to pitchers," Kelly said. "We are trying to take shorter swings and just get the ball over the infield. It was pretty fun today. We're working on it because we were so close to being last in almost every category last year." Kelly has a career batting average of .152 in two seasons with St. Louis.
 
HELP WANTED
 
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would be taking a long look at plenty of "insurance policies," including Schlosser, to pick up the slack for Atlanta's injured starting pitchers. In addition to Medlen and Beachy, Minor might miss the first couple weeks of the season. As for his rotation when the team goes north, Gonzalez said he has a lot of thinking to do. "I haven't decided whether to go with four starters at the start of the year or five," he said. "I just want to see what we have just in case."
Saturday, 15 March 2014 22:32
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rodger Saffold's bizarre free agent experience has ended right back where it started.
 
The St. Louis Rams announced on Thursday that they've re-signed Saffold. The former second-round pick started 44 games in four seasons with the Rams. But he agreed to a five-year, $42.5 million deal with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday, only to have the deal voided when he failed a physical on Wednesday because of a previous shoulder injury.
 
The Rams pounced on the chance to bring Saffold back. He played in 12 of the team's 16 games last season, starting at right tackle, right guard and left tackle.
 
The Rams chose Saffold with the 33rd pick in 2010.
 
Saffold wanted to test the free agent market so he could get another chance to start at left tackle. He was moved to the right side after the Rams signed Jake Long to a two-year free agent deal last offseason.
 
In the team release announcing the signing, Saffold is termed an offensive lineman.
 
The Rams are potentially thin on the line after releasing guard Harvey Dahl, sidelined by a knee injury at the end of last season, and with guard Chris Williams a restricted free agent. Long underwent knee surgery in late January and might not be ready the start of the season.
Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:36
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JUPITER, Fla. (AP) -- Lance Lynn rebounded from a bad outing to strike out his final eight batters and 10 overall in four innings Thursday during the St. Louis Cardinals' 11-0 win over the Atlanta Braves.
 
Lynn ended his stint by fanning Justin Upton, Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson.
 
"Today was a good day," Lynn said. "The ball felt good coming out of my hand. I was able to make pitches today."
 
Lynn had allowed five runs in 1 1-3 innings of relief against Miami in his previous appearance. On Thursday he allowed only one hit and walked none. He got a strikeout on every type of pitch other than his curveball.
 
"Everything was in the strike zone, and it was down for the most part, so that's good," Lynn said.
 
Atlanta starter Freddy Garcia gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits in four innings.
 
Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina hit RBI doubles in the first, and Jhonny Peralta's two-out double drove in Holliday in the third. Xavier Scruggs hit a three-run double in a seven-run sixth.
 
STARTING TIME
 
Atlanta: Injuries are prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez to prepare for the possibility of entering the season with a four-man rotation. Originally signed as insurance, Garcia would be among those four.
 
"I think he's more valuable than just depth right now," Gonzalez said. "He's going to be in the rotation."
 
The Braves won't need a fifth starter until April 12. Gonzalez hopes that newly signed Ervin Santana would be ready to join the rotation by then.
 
St. Louis: The Cardinals said the Elias Sports Bureau determined Lynn is the only Cardinal to strike out 10 or more in spring training in last 20 years. As Lynn headed to the clubhouse, the dozen or so Cardinals in the bullpen jumped up to congratulate and hug him.
 
TRAINER'S ROOM
 
St. Louis pitcher Jaime Garcia (shoulder) returned from Birmingham, Ala., where he was receiving therapy. The Cardinals hoped Garcia would be the lone left-hander in their starting rotation but has not thrown a ball since experiencing soreness in his surgically-repaired shoulder during the second week of spring training. Cardinals manager Mike Mathney did not give a timetable for Garcia's activities.
 
Gonzalez said the Braves have been cautious with Ramiro Pena's surgically-repaired shoulder, but he has no concerns over whether Pena will fill Atlanta's utility role. "He's going to be our guy," Gonzalez said.
 
REPLAY REWIND
 
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny joked he heard from "everybody in the commissioner's office" about his comments regarding a close play at third on Tuesday that he felt should have been overturned by video review. Matheny said because the camera angles the replay official saw were different from the broadcast angles, he wanted to know whether what the team saw in the broadcast angles would have been clear and conclusive enough to overturn the call.
 
"I wanted `inconclusive' to kind of have some barriers," said Matheny, a proponent of replay review. "How much are they going to have to see?"
 
COMFORTABLE WITH GATTIS
 
Gattis caught back-to-back games for the first time this year and went 0 for 3 at the plate. Gonzalez said he is expecting Gattis to catch 110 games this season.
 
"He caught 40-some games and he did a nice job," Gonzalez said of 2013, when Gattis backed up Brian McCann. "I don't think he's a guy we are going to have to worry about behind the plate."
 
MOVING AROUND
 
Jason Heyward has yet to play center field this spring training, but Gonzalez didn't rule out the possibility of him playing there once the regular season starts. "That option is always there," Gonzalez said.
 
PROSPECT WATCH
 
With outfield prospect Oscar Taveras sidelined by ankle and hamstring issues, Stephen Piscotty is making the most of his playing time.
 
The Cardinals' outfielder was hitting .389 entering Thursday's game and made a sliding catch on a Gattis line drive in right field to end the first inning
 
"He's squaring the ball up and doing a nice job in the outfield, too," Matheny said.
 
After the game, Taveras was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Thursday, 13 March 2014 23:33
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Carpenter, Wainwright help Cardinals top Cubs 10-4

Carpenter, Wainwright help Cardinals top Cubs 10-4

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Matt Adams homered, Matt Carpenter drove in two runs and Adam Wainwright saved a tired bullpen by lasting seven innings for the St. Louis Cardinals in their 10...

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