In their fourth set of cuts this spring, on Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals re-assigned three players to their minor league camp. They include right-handed pitcher John Wasdin, who came in on a minor league deal, and two youngsters on the 40-man roster now optioned to the minors, pitchers Blake Hawksworth and Mark Worrell.
Wasdin, 35, has been slowed by shoulder irritation this spring and did not appear in any games. The veteran right-hander, signed in November to a minor league deal, could still provide the Cardinals with relief depth sometime during the 2008 campaign.
Wasdin broke spring camp with the Pittsburgh Pirates to start an injury-plagued 2007 season, totaling 12 relief outings for the Pirates (1-1, 5.95 ERA) before being shut down for the season in late July due to a right wrist sprain. Wasdin also started seven games for Triple-A Indianapolis, five while rehabbing from a sprained right thumb in June, and was 1-1 with a 6.37 ERA while walking three and striking out 40 in 35.1 innings.
Wasdin has appeared in 328 games (65 starts) at the big-league level and owns a 39-39 record with seven saves and a 5.28 ERA. He was originally a first-round draft pick (25th overall) of the Oakland A’s in 1993.
Hawksworth, our 23rd ranked Cardinals prospect, a free fall from his number two ranking a winter ago. After a solid spring training, Hawksworth struggled from the start in 2007, finishing with a 4-13 record and a 5.28 ERA at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander made 25 starts, but allowed a disconcerting number of home runs - 24 in just 129 innings. Though the major league club needed help, Hawksworth was clearly not ready to be called upon.
Hawksworth was selected in the 28th round of the June, 2001 First-Year Player Draft and signed for $1.475 million as a draft-and-follow. His early years in the system were plagued by injury. He had a bone spur removed from his ankle in 2003 and appeared in only two games for high Class A Palm Beach in 2004 before suffering a partially torn labrum and loose cartilage in his shoulder. Still recovering from the surgery, Hawksworth missed the first three months of the 2005 season. He bounced back with a strong 2006 and was added to the 40-man roster that off-season before falling back again in 2007.
This spring with the major league club, the 25-year-old allowed eight earned runs in three innings. He struck out seven, but also walked three, indicating both the promise as well as the frustration. Hawksworth is likely slated to reprise his role in the Memphis Redbirds rotation in 2008.
Worrell was also added to the 40-man in November. The 24-year-old Floridian was named our Scout.com 2007 Cardinals Relief Pitcher of the Year for the Memphis Redbirds. Worrell posted a 3-2 record along with 3.09 ERA over 67 innings. The right-hander struck out just under a batter per inning as he collected 66 strikeouts and walked 25. He held opposing hitters to a collective .236 batting average.
Worrell was the Redbirds’ lone Pacific Coast League All-Star representative in 2007. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder served in a set-up role for journeyman closer Brian Falkenborg last season and also pitched in six games in winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
Worrell is our 33rd-ranked Cardinals prospect, down from 24 one year ago, coming off a 27-save 2006 season for Springfield. That was down seven spots from the year before, when he was awarded the Rolaids Relief Man Award for the minor leagues while pitching for Palm Beach. Worrell was originally selected by the organization in the 12th round (360th overall) of the June, 2004 First-Year Player Draft from Florida International University.
This spring, Worrell allowed two runs on four hits in three innings on the mound. He is expected to return to the Memphis bullpen in 2008.
The Cardinals now have 45 players in camp, including 27 pitchers and 18 position players. 35 of them are rostered players and 10 more non-roster invitees.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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