Cardinals ink reliever Aardsma to Minor League deal

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals will leave Florida with their roster still unsettled and four relievers remaining in the mix for the final spot in the bullpen.

The club, unofficially, has filled six of the seven 'pen openings with Trevor Rosenthal, Carlos Martinez, Kevin Siegrist, Randy Choate, Seth Maness and Pat Neshek. The four other non-starters still in camp -- David Aardsma, Jorge Rondon, Keith Butler and Scott McGregor -- are under consideration to join them.

The Cardinals will also take some extra position players -- among them, Pete Kozma, Ed Easley, Scott Moore and Stephen Piscotty -- who are not expected to crack the Opening Day roster to Memphis.

Those players, along with the relievers who do not earn a spot on the 25-man roster, will stay in Memphis after Friday's exhibition game and open the season in Triple-A.

Before making their final roster decisions, the Cardinals got at least one more look at Aardsma, who signed a Minor League deal with the organization on Wednesday. Aardsma gave up three runs in just one-third of an inning in Thursday's 6-4 loss to the Marlins. He also walked two.

"We're trying to see who fits best," manager Mike Matheny said, "and let them continue to show what they've got."

Garcia, Motte to continue rehab work in Florida

Motte on rehab progress, latest bullpen session

JUPITER, Fla. -- Jaime Garcia and Jason Motte, both of whom will begin the season on the disabled list, plan to stay at the Cardinals' Florida complex to continue their rehab work as the club heads north for the start of the regular season.

Garcia only recently resumed throwing following a month-long shutdown due to bursitis in his left shoulder. He won't be ready to rejoin the Cardinals until, at the earliest, May.

Motte is further along in his program and is scheduled to face hitters again on Saturday. Motte indicated that he would throw those pitches in a Minor League game, though manager Mike Matheny said a simulated game would be a sufficient setting.

Asked if Motte could be ready to come off the DL by the end of April, Matheny said he is "still cautious to put that time frame."

"I just think we'll know each time he throws and how he responds as we get a little closer," Matheny added. "But I don't think anyone is in position now to say this is the date that we're shooting for. He keeps ramping up the intensity and keeps ramping up how long he's throwing the pitches. He keeps getting closer."

Motte is making plans to travel to St. Louis to take part in the home opener festivities and an April 10 charity event related to the "Homers for Health, Ks for Kids" initiative with which he is involved. "I really would like to be there for that," he said.

Motte will also be sent out for a Minor League rehab assignment before he's cleared to return to the 25-man roster.

Matheny holds positive view of replay system

Three plays upheld in expanded replay's debut

JUPITER, Fla. -- With the dress rehearsal now complete, the Cardinals feel prepared to enter the season ready to utilize the new expanded instant replay system that was introduced to clubs this spring.

Each team had a select number of exhibition games in which a makeshift replay system was available so that everyone could practice protocol. Manager Mike Matheny ended up challenging three calls. None of the three were overturned, though umpires did not have access to the same extensive technology that they will have during the regular season. The intention was simply to allow teams to go through the process.

"It was nice to be able to do it a couple times knowing that we were handicapped a little bit with the delay, with the video review," Matheny said. "It would have been nice to have all the technology in place so you could really work it. But I think it's also a pretty good testament to our umpires. We had a lot of young umpires, we had a bunch of umpires who hadn't been umpiring for the last several months, and we still had very few opportunities to really get out there and test the system. That shows you they're a whole lot better than any of us want to admit."

During Major League Baseball's demonstration of the new instant replay system at the MLB Advanced Media headquarters on Wednesday, it was explained to reporters that in a review of 2,431 games during the 2013 season, only 377 calls were missed.

Matheny said that the Cardinals will "be aggressive" in challenging calls during the season. "We're going to test the system," he said. "We have to."

Bench coach Mike Aldrete will serve as the point person in contact with the team's video coordinator. He will then signal to Matheny whether the skipper should challenge.

Worth noting

BOS@STL: Miller strikes out five over 2 2/3 innings

• Right-hander Shelby Miller will remain in Florida for an extra day so that he can throw in a Minor League game on Saturday. He will then join the Cardinals in Cincinnati in advance of Monday's season opener. Miller made his final Grapefruit League start on Monday and needed to simulate another start before he pitches on April 4 in Pittsburgh.

Lance Lynn threw a side session before the game against the Marlins on Thursday. He will throw at least once more off the mound before starting against the Reds in a week.

• The Reds announced on Thursday that they will start Johnny Cueto in Monday's season opener against Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright. Tony Cingrani will face Michael Wacha in the second game of that series.