On Monday, the St. Louis Cardinals
today announced that they have optioned pitchers Mike Parisi and Jason Motte and
outfielder Joe Mather to their Triple-A Memphis. The team also re-assigned
pitcher Clayton Mortensen, catcher Mark Johnson and outfielder Colby Rasmus to
their minor league camp.
The difference is that the first
three are on the club’s 40-man roster, so will use an option season this year in
the minor leagues. The latter three were in camp as non-roster invitees, so they
are simply re-assigned.
Summarizing the springs of all six
Mike Parisi has made 95 starts as a
professional and none as a reliever. All spring, Cardinals officials have stated
their intent to keep Parisi starting, which kept him out of the bullpen
competition. Not ever reaching the same plane as others fighting for the
rotation such as Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson and Anthony Reyes meant that
Parisi was clearly ticketed all along for a return to Memphis’
Overall this spring, Parisi
pitched in two games, including one start. He yielded four runs, three earned,
over five innings on the mound. Parisi allowed seven hits, fanned five anddid
not issue any walks.
Right-handed reliever Jason Motte impressed with his
high-nineties fastball and will head to Memphis to continue to refine his game.
He picked up a win and a save in his six outings. Over seven innings, Motte
allowed a single run on four hits and three walks. He fanned
Outfielder/first baseman Joe Mather was one of the pleasant
surprises of camp, hitting .289/.386/.526 in 38 at-bats. That included four
doubles, a triple and a home run and he drove in four while playing a solid
outfield and first base. Yet, there were just too many outfielders competing for
too few jobs this time around.
Mather made his final spring game
with the big club memorable. Hitting for starting pitcher Anthony Reyes in the
fifth inning against Atlanta Braves veteran Mike Hampton, Mather laced an RBI
double for the Cardinals first run. Defensively, he played at first base and
left field on Monday.
After hitting 31 home runs last
season between Springfield and
Memphis, Mather will anchor
Memphis’ lineup and is expected to be
asked to continue to hone his game in the outfield. With Albert Pujols around,
Mather must excel in the outfield to advance.
The top prospect in the
organization, Colby Rasmus, started
slowly this spring, but showed a good eye at the plate all along. In the last
week, his results at the plate progressed to the point his overall numbers
improved to a solid .273/.467/.515, including 12 walks, two doubles and two home
runs. Rasmus also swiped three bases and scored seven times over his 33
In his final spring MLB contest on
Monday, Rasmus led off and played in centerfield. He went 0-for-3 with a
strikeout. He will be back. It now becomes a matter of when. Rasmus can force
the issue by coming hard out of the gates in his first-ever action in
Right-handed starter Clayton Mortensen, selected in the
supplemental first round out of Gonzaga last June, remained in big-league camp
longer than anyone, including the player himself, ever expected.
It was a combination of the
22-year-old impressing his coaches as well as injuries to established starters
such as Matt Clement and Joel Pineiro that opened the door for Mortensen to
start two games. He appeared in one other contest in relief. Overall this
spring, Mortensen allowed nine runs in 7 1/3 innings on 11 hits and five walks.
He fanned four.
Catcher Mark Johnson, 32, was signed as injury
insurance for the major league club as well as to work with a potentially
younger Memphis staff than in recent seasons. A
veteran of almost 1000 major league contests, Johnson had no chance to unseat
Jason LaRue as the backup catcher coming out of camp. He went hitless this
spring in six at-bats, though he did walk and score once.
With the moves, the only NRI
prospect remaining in MLB camp is reliever Chris Perez. Reliever Hugo Castellanos as well as veterans Cliff Politte and Ron Villone also are still
standing. From the position player side only infielder D’Angelo Jimenez and
outfielder Juan Gonzalez are in camp.
The top prospect from the 40-man
roster still in the scrum is pitcher Kyle McClellan, capable of starting or
relieving. Rule 5 pick up Brian Barton is in the midst of a fight for the final
outfield berth with Gonzalez. D’Angelo Jimenez would appear to be competing
against Brendan Ryan, though both veterans seem behind.
Overall, 31 healthy players remain
in camp. 16 pitchers are competing for 12 jobs, with 15 position players
fighting for 13 spots.
Assuming Anthony Reyes is in the
rotation and Brad Thompson is in the pen, then five players are in the battle
for one final spot at the end of the bullpen. They are Politte, Castellanos,
McClellan, Perez and Kelvin Jimenez.
NRIs are in italics
Brian Walton can be reached via
email at email@example.com.
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