The St. Louis Cardinals, swept at home by Toronto over the weekend, losers of 12 of their last 15 and falling in the National League Central Division race, are calling on a pair of familiar names to try to stem the tide.
The club plans to activate third baseman David Freese and utility infielder Nick Punto from the 15-day disabled list. The two will join the Cardinals in Baltimore for their interleague series to begin on Tuesday, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Freese, out since May 1 when he suffered a broken hand, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday. The 28-year-old appeared in four Pacific Coast League games, going 3-for-13 (.231), including a bloop double and an RBI. Freese struck out three, walked once and committed a fielding error.
Punto, a 33-year-old switch-hitter, was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 18 due to a right forearm flexor strain. He joined Double-A Springfield on Monday, playing in three games as the designated hitter before starting at second base in the next three Texas League contests. Through six starts, Punto batted .381 (8-for-21). He doubled, plated two, stole a base and scored three runs. Punto fanned three times and drew two walks.
|Punto in Springfield this week|
In the corresponding transactions, outfielder Andrew Brown and infielder Pete Kozma are being optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Brown, 26, spent exactly two weeks in his initial stay with St. Louis, batting .182 (4-for-22). He started in right field for the Cardinals on Sunday, collecting one of St. Louis’ four hits against Toronto’s Ricky Romero.
Kozma, 23, drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in his final game with the Cardinals on Sunday. He was recalled to St. Louis eight days ago when Tyler Greene was optioned out. This time up, Kozma went 2-for-9 (.222) with a walk. Overall, he is batting just .176 in his two stints with St. Louis during his rookie season.
The Redbirds will need to make two roster moves to accommodate Brown and Kozma as they are at their maximum of 24 players. To view the entire Cardinals system by level and position on one page, see the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog.
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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