In a bit of surprise, the St. Louis Cardinals gave outfielder/first baseman Mark Hamilton his unconditional release on Friday. Playing with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, the 28-year-old had been passed by Matt Adams at first base and had been moved to the outfield in 2012.
The left-handed hitter was originally taken in the supplemental second round in the 2006 draft (76th overall) with the pick awarded to the Cardinals when free agent third baseman Abraham Nunez signed with Philadelphia. He received a signing bonus of $465,000. His best year was in 2010, when he hit 18 home runs, drove in 60 and had an OPS of .974 in 72 games with Memphis.
This season, Hamilton began the season on the disabled list with a quad injury. After his May 4 activation, he batted .231 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI in 90 games for the Triple-A Redbirds. His home run count was up from just two last season, but his batting average dropped 114 points year-to-year.
Hamilton also had appeared in a total of 47 games with St. Louis in 2010 and 2011, batting just .197. He was not called up this season and a September addition to the expanded major league roster also seemed unlikely.
With the move, the Cardinals free up another 40-man roster spot, the second this week, after reliever Brian Fuentes was placed on the restricted list. The Cardinals currently sit at 38, with Jaime Garcia expected to use one when he is activated on Sunday.
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