On Saturday, in the midst of a seven-day losing streak, the St. Louis Cardinals made a pair of roster changes. The club recalled shortstop Pete Kozma from Triple-A Memphis and right-handed pitcher Maikel Cleto from Double-A Springfield. Both will be making their second 2011 and career stints with St. Louis.
Cleto, 22, was scheduled to start for Springfield Saturday evening, so should be fully rested if needed in long relief. The right-hander is a Texas League All-Star, having a 2-2 record with a 3.93 ERA since being called up from Palm Beach. His Double-A strikeout to walk ratio is 36:12 in 34 1/3 innings. Cleto had a one-game MLB debut on June 2 before being returned to Double-A.
Kozma, 23, was first called up to St. Louis on May 18. He hit home runs in his first two games after being returned to Memphis on June 3, but has struggled with the bat since. Kozma is just 12-for-51 (.216) with the Redbirds this time around and is down to .219 on the season.
In the corresponding transactions, shortstop Tyler Greene and first baseman Mark Hamilton were optioned to Memphis. On Saturday at least, the Redbirds only activated Hamilton. Since this is the first time down to Memphis for Greene this season, he may be given a bit more time to report. This is Hamilton’s second up and down cycle in 2011. Springfield is temporarily down one player.
Greene, 27, batted just .198 with St. Louis in 101 at-bats over 49 games and had been with the club since spring training. He also has been erratic in the field, with a crucial miss of second base and throw to perhaps the wrong base on Friday evening.
Hamilton has torn up Triple-A hitting, but has looked lost at the plate in his first two major league stints. As a Cardinal, the left-handed hitter is just 3-for-26 (.115), with an 0-for-11 subset in his most recent stay in the bigs, which began on June 3.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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