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Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals: Grapefruit League GameThread

Washington and St. Louis meet up at 1:05 PM ET today in the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, with Aníbal Sánchez starting for the Nationals opposite Cardinals’ right-hander Miles Mikolas. FOLLOW: Radio only via MLB.com.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

As of the time he spoke to reporters in West Palm Beach, FL before yesterday’s game with the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez was not sure how he’d line up his pitching today. With both top prospect Cade Cavalli and Aníbal Sánchez set to pitch, the question was whether Cavalli would come out of the bullpen once Sánchez was done, or if the club would throw the 2020 1st Round pick in a minor league game so he’d get all the work in they want him to.

Coming out of his first start and second appearance in Grapefruit League action this year last time out, which saw Cavalli give up five hits and three runs (all earned), while striking out three batters in an impressive outing against the same Cardinals the Nationals host today, Martinez said his next outing would likely be in a big league game.

“I think we’ll keep him here and let him throw again in five days,” Martinez said, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. “And then we’ll see where we’re at.”

Four days later, however, the fifth-year skipper wasn’t so sure how things would play out.

Would Cavalli come out of the pen like he did in his 2022 debut earlier this month, in relief after Sánchez, and handle the remaining innings once the veteran is done, or start so that he could get in all the work he needs.

“I’m leaning more towards stretching him out, but we’ll see,” Martinez said, but, “[Pitching coach Jim] Hickey wants to see him pitch in the big league game, but we’ll see.”

After Tuesday’s game, Martinez announced his decision:

HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR TODAY’S GAME WITH THE CARDINALS: