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    ST. LOUIS - When Carlos Martinez tries for a spot in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, the 23-year-old righty will be proudly wearing the number of a fallen teammate.Martinez was close friends with fellow Dominican Republic countryman Oscar Taveras, the promising rookie outfielder who died in a car crash last October after St. Louis was eliminated by the Giants in the NL Championship Series.Martinez switched to jersey No. 18 to honour Taveras, and says hell wear it the rest of his career.He was a friend, a brother, Martinez said through an interpreter Monday on the final day of the teams three-day Winter Warm-Up fan festival. Im taking it bit by bit. This tragedy, of course, affected me.Cardinals uniforms will feature patches with Taveras number and initials, and a decal will be placed inside the stadium, much like the ones memorializing the late Darryl Kile and Josh Hancock. Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said the team also is renovating a field in Taveras hometown of Sosua, aiming to make it first-rate.A brief stint pitching in the Dominican Winter League provided Martinez with an outlet that helped him process the accident that also killed Taveras girlfriend.Martinez wax 3-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 26 strikeouts and two walks in 24 innings for Aguilas Cibaenas.It definitely helped me mentally to be able to focus on something else, to be able to concentrate on something else, Martinez said. I know what I need to do be in the fifth spot and Im ready for the challenge.I feel like yes, this is my spot, he said.Martinez appeared in 57 games last season,including seven starts in midseason, going 2-4 with a 4.03 ERA. Hes the top pitching prospect in the organization.The Cardinals werent anxious to block that path by chasing free agent Max Scherzer, who got a seven-year, $210 million deal with Washington on Monday.The Cardinals have other pitching issues. Theyre monitoring the progress of 20-game winner Adam Wainwright from elbow surgery, Michael Wacha from an unusual shoulder injury and lefty Jaime Garcia from unproven thoracic outlet surgery.Were giving Carlos a great opportunity, but opportunity is just that, manager Mike Matheny said. Hes going to have to go out and compete.Marco Gonzales, coming off an impressive finish to his rookie year, and reliable lefty Tyler Lyons offer depth for a franchise leaning on its farm system.It makes the off-season for baseball fans enjoyable, to think of the what-ifs, Matheny said. Man, I could think of a bunch of guys that could come in here and compete for a job.I dont see the urgency in running out and making a hasty decision that goes outside of what the business model and plan is, he said.Lance Lynn, who has 48 wins in three years in the rotation, believes the biggest hurdle for Martinez will probably be adjusting to the work load. Counting a brief stint in the minors last year, he worked 99 2-3 innings.Thats 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 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 hes got electric stuff, Lynn said. Hes 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 theyve seen him once or twice.Lynn has the security of a long-term contract after getting a three-year, $22 million extension a few days earlier. Last year he entered spring training competing for a spot in the rotation.You know its going to take care of itself with the arbitration process, but just to get the whole three years situated so we dont ever have to go through it, Lynn said. Both of us feel like we got what we wanted and Im excited about it. George Blanda Jersey . - Mike Zimmer has brought a demanding style to the Minnesota Vikings. Howie Long Jersey . The 31-year-old Russian dominated the No. 3-ranked Ferrer throughout, breaking the defending champion and local favourite four times on the indoor hard court. http://www.shoptheraidersonline.com/...aiders-Jersey/ .com) - John Wall supplied 24 points and 11 assists in leading the Washington Wizards to a 102-91 win over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. Lyle Alzado Jersey . The 25-year-old McIlroy, who is from Northern Ireland, was eligible to play for either Ireland or Team GB when golf makes its return to the Olympics in Brazil for the first time since 1904. Marcus Allen Jersey . For the Miami Heat, that was outstanding news. LeBron James scored the last of his 32 points on a layup that put Miami up for good with 11.ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jerome Williams got back into the win column for the first time in more than 2 1-2 months. The fact that he beat reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price and the contending Tampa Bay Rays made it that much sweeter. Collin Cowgill hit a three-run double, one of 11 hits the Los Angeles Angels had against Price through his first 2 1-3 innings, and Williams ended a streak of eight straight losing decisions in a 6-2 victory over the Rays on Thursday night. "I thought our guys did a great job in some situation hitting with guys on base against a tough pitcher," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Rays ninth loss in 12 games, coupled with Bostons 9-8 win at New York, dropped Tampa Bay 6 1-2 games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox. 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