The St. Louis Cardinals’ first roster move of the regular season is a bit of a surprise.
Catcher Bryan Anderson is being promoted from Triple-A Memphis to join the major league club, replacing Jason LaRue, who is heading to the 15-day disabled list due to a hamstring injury sustained on Sunday night in Milwaukee, reports the major league team.
The left-handed-hitting Anderson was off to a .333 average with one home run and three RBI start in four games at Memphis. Prior to this week, Matt Pagnozzi, also on the 40-man roster, was considered to be next in the catching pecking order. Anderson is considered the better hitter and offers the Cardinals bench another needed bat from that side of the plate, with Pagnozzi stronger defensively.
Anderson, 23, became a Cardinal out of a California high school after being selected in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. He had been ranked as high as #2 in our top 40 Cardinals prospect list (prior to the 2008 season), but has slipped in recent years due to injury and a lack of emergence of expected power with the bat. He is currently ranked 10th. Anderson was added to the 40-man roster this past November to protect him from December's Rule 5 draft.
Interestingly, Anderson received just two at-bats in major league spring training action and was quickly dispatched to minor league camp on March 15. Conversely, Pagnozzi appeared in 19 spring games, was given 31 plate appearances, batting .276. Yet it is Anderson who received the call.
In parts of six professional seasons covering 417 games, Anderson has posted a line of .299/.362/.420 with 25 home runs and 197 RBI. He will be wearing uniform #16 and is expected to be available when the Cardinals take on the Astros at Busch Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Update: In a corresponding transaction, the Cardinals promoted catcher Nick Derba from the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League to Memphis to back up Pagnozzi while Anderson is needed in St. Louis.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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