At the conclusion on Friday’s spring training game, the St. Louis Cardinals disclosed what appear to be their final non-DL roster moves of the spring. In the only decision from the group that was not clear already, Tony Cruz has won the backup catcher’s job. That means Bryan Anderson has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
In the other transactions, the final two non-roster invitees - reliever Victor Marte and infielder/outfielder Eugenio Velez - will be reassigned to minor league camp. These moves were reported by the Post-Dispatch. MLB.com notes they will not occur until after Sunday's game.
Marte, 31, earned a hold on Friday as he came up to relieve a struggling Fernando Salas and collected three consecutive outs in the eighth, including an inning-ending double play. The right-hander finishes the spring having allowed just one earned run in nine innings. Marte fanned seven and walked two. He is expected to reprise his 2011 role as Memphis closer.
It seemed odd that Velez, 29, had remained so long in major league camp. The switch-hitter played sparingly this spring and when he did, he did not hit. Velez batted .143 (3-for-21) with all three hits singles. He added a walk, boosting his OBP to .182. Velez should warm the bench in Triple-A.
Anderson, 25, is 11-for-23 (.478) including five doubles, along with five walks this spring. Cruz has also played well, batting .333, and manager Mike Matheny had said all along that play behind the plate would decide the winner.
These decisions line up the Cardinals opening day bench as Cruz, infielders Daniel Descalso (or Tyler Greene if he is not starting) and Matt Carpenter plus outfielders Shane Robinson and Erik Komatsu.
The Cardinals have 28 players still in camp, excluding the three subjects of this article. They will be at their opening day target of 25 once three injured players are placed on the disabled list – Chris Carpenter, Skip Schumaker and Allen Craig.
For roster specifics across the entire system, refer to 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 minor league features during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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