Top Prospects: Patrick Wisdom, 3B, Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- A lack of depth at third base forced Cardinals manager Mike Matheny to start Patrick Wisdom for Sunday afternoon's game against the Marlins.

David Freese continues to nurse a sore back for precautionary reasons and Ty Wigginton was given the day off.

"Freese is still down a little bit and don't want to overexpose [Allen] Craig and not try to beat up [Matt] Adams," Matheny said. "We've got a little bit of a need there."

Wisdom, 21, was chosen 52nd overall in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Mary's College of California. In his first Minor League season with Batavia, Wisdom hit .282 with six home runs and 32 RBIs over 65 games. He committed five errors for a .969 fielding percentage.

Over six spring at-bats before Sunday, when he batted ninth, Wisdom had one hit and a hit by pitch with one run scored. He wore No. 91.

"Kid came in obviously out of the Draft last year and made a good impression on us," Matheny said. "It looks like we can field really field the position well, and I like looking at the young guys. I know not everybody's under the same thought philosophy as I am, but I like watching the young guys do their thing, so we know later on down the line what we're working with."

Shaky third inning plagues Lynn's outing

STL@NYY: Lynn hurls four solid frames of one-run ball

JUPITER, Fla. -- Right-hander Lance Lynn allowed five runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings during his fourth start of the spring Sunday afternoon in a 6-0 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

The 25-year-old threw 84 pitches (59 strikes) in his first outing since last Monday, when he gave up just one run on two hits over four innings to the Yankees.

"It was just one of those days where everything that was put in play was a hit," said Lynn, who walked two batters and struck out another. "When I jammed a guy, it was a hit. When I threw a bad pitch, it was a hit. It was just part of it, this time of the year."

Lynn, who continues to work out mechanics in his stride, left a few breaking balls up that Miami hitters took advantage of. He aims to correct that over his final two starts before the regular season.

During a 33-pitch, three-run third inning, eight batters came to the plate. Following Casey Kotchman's RBI single to left, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist and catcher J.R. Towles met Lynn at the mound. Rob Brantly chased Lynn in the fourth with his third RBI single in as many at-bats.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he saw a different tempo and life on Lynn's pitches, especially the way the ball came out of his hand. After an outing such as the one Sunday, Matheny emphasized looking at more than just the results.

"I think every time he gets out there he gets closer," Matheny said. "The timing's going to be perfect where he rolls into the season ready to go and feeling really good."

Boggs tosses scoreless inning in return

Outlook: Boggs led NL in holds, will close if needed

JUPITER, Fla. -- Right-hander Mitchell Boggs pitched a scoreless seventh inning Sunday in his first outing with the Cardinals since March 2.

After retiring the first two batters -- Miami's Kevin Kouzmanoff and Nick Green -- on a groundout to short and flyout to center, respectively, Boggs walked pinch-hitter Bryan Petersen on a full count. He struck out Christian Yelich swinging to end the frame.

Of Boggs' 20 pitches, 11 were for strikes. His fastball reached 94 mph, while his sinker got two right-handed hitters out.

"I felt good," Boggs said. "Usually when you miss a little bit of time or you don't pitch as much, you get a little rusty. My command was good, split was very good and my breaking ball was really good."

Boggs returned to camp Saturday after Team USA lost to Puerto Rico on Friday night in the World Baseball Classic. The 29-year-old saw limited action during the two rounds, pitching 1 1/3 scoreless innings over three outings, allowing just one hit and one walk.

In order to get work in, Boggs threw on flat ground every day, treating it as if he were trying to get guys out in a game. He also tossed bullpen sessions.

Prior to departing for the World Baseball Classic, Boggs accumulated three scoreless innings with two hits, two strikeouts and two walks.

"My hand was hurting just watching Audry [Perez] catch him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "They looked like cannon balls -- heavy sink in the strike zone and straight to the hard split to get some swinging misses. It was nice to see him back."

Robinson making most of spring chances

STL@WSH: Robinson hits grand slam in the fifth inning

JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals outfielder Shane Robinson entered Spring Training anticipating more playing time, with Carlos Beltran competing for Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic.

Robinson has made the most of his opportunities while splitting looks with Adron Chambers as well as non-roster invitees Oscar Taveras and Justin Christian.

In 14 games before Sunday, the 28-year-old was 16-for-35 (.457) with five doubles, three home runs, 11 RBIs and 11 runs. He has struck out and walked four times each. His batting average ranks first among St. Louis players.

"It's good to get out there and get some consistent playing time," said Robinson, who hit second in Sunday afternoon's lineup. "It definitely helps continuing to keep my approach and getting comfortable hitting and just being out there in game situations."

With 11 games remaining, Robinson is nine at-bats shy of his career high during Grapefruit League action. Last year in his third big league season, Robinson's numbers jumped from nine to 102 games played, filling in for guys on the disabled list. He finished with a .253 average, three homers and 16 RBIs.

"I'm making things a lot simpler and sticking with a consistent game plan every time," Robinson said. "I've just felt really good this spring. Everything's been coming together benefiting from the majority of playing time I've been getting."

Worth noting

• St. Louis optioned shortstop Ryan Jackson and right-hander Keith Butler to Triple-A Memphis and reassigned left-hander John Gast to Minor League camp following Sunday's game.

• Right-handers Joe Kelly and Shelby Miller -- candidates for the fifth spot in the starting rotation -- will pitch in the same game in their second consecutive outing Tuesday against the Marlins.

Matheny flip-flopped the order, with Miller scheduled to start and Kelly to follow. The pair also threw Thursday against the Braves.

• Freese, who still feels some pain in his back after a fall he took March 4 while chasing a foul ball, was once again out of the lineup Sunday. "It's Spring Training," Matheny said. "Just being cautious."

• Left-hander Randy Choate pitched live batting practice to Minor Leaguers on a back field Sunday morning in order to face more than one batter in an appearance.

The southpaw specialist has 5 1/3 innings of work over seven games with a 1.69 ERA. Matheny wanted to stack lefty batters so Choate could repeat his breaking ball.

"It's better than what we're doing out here," Matheny said. "We know he's not going to face many right-handers during the season, and we're always at risk because rosters are so big that they can start flopping righties in."

• In honor of St. Patrick's Day, the Cardinals wore green jerseys and caps Sunday afternoon against the Marlins.