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Carlos Martinez             (MLB photo)

Carlos Martinez (MLB photo)

Carlos Martinez has his eyes on the prize

At the beginning of the season, Carlos Martinez had one goal – to become a starter.

“He’s going to be given a lot of opportunities to win that spot, but he has to earn it,” General Manager John Mozeliak said.

The hard-throwing right-hander appeared in 57 games last season,including seven starts in midseason, going 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA.

“What I want to let everyone know is that I do have a little more experience, and with experience comes a little maturity,” he said. “I hope to build off of that.”

He was regarded as the top pitching prospect in the organization and because of that, the Cardinals have given Martinez a hard look this spring.

“We’re giving Carlos a great opportunity, but opportunity is just that,” Matheny said. “He’s going to have to go out and compete. It just takes time. It takes some struggles.”

Lance Lynn, who has 48 wins in three years in the rotation, believes the biggest hurdle for Martinez will probably be adjusting to the workload. Counting a brief stint in the minors last year, he worked 99 and two-thirds innings.

“That’s going to be a different thing for him. You have to know when to go after it and when to be able to back off and get through things,” Lynn said. “I threw 140 innings, 160 innings before I even got called up to the big leagues.”

Lynn said he preferred to “wait and see” how Martinez handles the adjustment when facing a lineup for the third time. He topped out at 88 pitches and never made it past six innings last season.

“He showed at times last year that he’s got electric stuff,” Lynn said. “He’s going to have to handle the pitching deep into games and staying under control and being able to get through those innings late in the game when they’ve seen him once or twice.”

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