A St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp that began five weeks ago with 61 players, including 21 non-roster invitees, was whittled down to its final 25 following Monday’s game.
The club made its final roster decisions to reach its opening day level with one spring training contest remaining. In a bit of a surprise, right-handed pitcher Bryan Augenstein has made the team as a reliever, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The 24-year-old was claimed via waivers from Arizona in October.
Here are the decisions made on Monday:
* Relievers Eduardo Sanchez and Fernando Salas optioned to Memphis.
* Outfielder Nick Stavinoha reassigned to Memphis.
In other supporting moves, over the weekend, MLB.com reported pitcher Adam Wainwright was placed on the 60-day disabled list. General manager John Mozeliak confirmed to FOX Sports Midwest that non-roster invitee Miguel Batista will be added to the 40-man and 25-man rosters, essentially taking Wainwright’s place. Injured infielder Nick Punto will be placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season as well.
Augenstein has shown an effective sinker and with history as a starter, can play the role of a long man in the pen. This spring, he allowed just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings, fanning 13 and walking just three. Hitters managed just a .077 average against him.
Salas, 25, seemed the favorite to achieve the final roster spot based on his six stints with the Cardinals last season. The right-hander from Mexico tossed two scoreless innings on Monday on two hits and walk. In the process, Salas lowered his spring ERA to 0.73. His strikeout to walk ratio was just 8/7, however.
Sanchez may have the highest ceiling of the three, but also has the least experience. The 22-year-old Venezuelan is our fourth-ranked Cardinals prospect coming into 2011. This spring, the right-hander yielded three runs, including two home runs, in seven innings. Sanchez fanned seven and walked two.
Stavinoha’s reassignment confirmed the obvious - that Daniel Descalso has made his first opening day roster. While the 28-year-old Stavinoha was the team’s top pinch-hitter in 2010 and can serve as emergency catcher, his removal from the 40-man roster last winter signaled his challenge. He will rejoin Memphis’ outfield and likely back up Mark Hamilton at first base. In major league camp, the right-handed hitter batted .250.
Spring camp rosters by position, with cuts noted, in both major and minor league versions, can be seen at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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