Redbirds Minors Roster Mysteries Mastered

Melvin Puello sidelined

Unlocking some minor mysteries surrounding several St. Louis Cardinals minor league players in Spring Training.

As the St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training minor league working rosters for pitchers and position players came to light, several player-related questions were exposed. Several will be answered here.

Melvin neither Maimed nor Missing

Playing for the rookie-level short-season club in Johnson City last year, Dominican outfielder Melvin Puello put up a .235/.257/.301 line in 45 games. Despite being included in the club's complement of Latin players invited to Minor League spring training for 2007, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder was missing from working rosters.

Not to fear. Puello is in camp, but is currently nursing a minor injury. As a result, the 21-year-old remains a "little ways" away from active duty, according to a club official.

To Protect the Innocent…

This spring, right-handed pitcher Cory Meacham has been noticeably absent from the clubhouse and practice fields, yet there was a new player on the scene that looks remarkably like him. The name on the jersey covers a lot of real estate, saying "Rauschenberger", but it isn't a gag sprung by the player or the equipment man.

Turns out that over the winter, Meacham legally changed his last name to Rauschenberger, and will be using that name both personally and professionally from here on out.

Rauschenberger is our number 40 ranked prospect here at stlcardinals.scout.com, coming off a combined record of 13-8 with a 3.25 ERA for Quad Cities and Palm Beach in 2006. The 22-year-old was chosen in the 35th round of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft.

Francisco is an Angel

Angel Rivera, an 18-year old outfielder from Mexico that the organization recently signed, is listed on the Quad Cities working roster by the name, Francisco Rivera. They are one and the same. Click on this link for a full scouting report.

Second Shot Shortstop

Shortstop Jaime Landin hit .427 his senior year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2005. That season, he was named NCAA Division I Independent Player of the Year. His teammate, Trey Hearne, was crowned the corresponding NCAA Division I Indy Pitcher of the Year before being drafted by the Cardinals.

Landin originally signed with the Cardinals, too, but as a free agent in November, 2005. His stay was short, being released by the organization last spring. However, the right-hander is back in camp for another look in 2007.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder had a solid year in independent ball, and that intrigued the organization enough to offer a second chance. The Brownsville, Texas native played for the Coastal Bend Aviators of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball in 2006 along with former Cardinals farmhand Charles Carter.

The 23-year-old Landin batted .292 with a lofty .403 on-base percentage for the Aviators. He was successful in nine of 11 stolen base attempts but was charged with 23 errors in 78 games. He is with Quad Cities on a make-good offer.

Grooming for a Job

Ryan Grooms is also listed on the Quad Cities roster. The outfielder is not under contract, but is working out with the club. Consider it sort of an extended tryout.

Grooms hit just .203 in 69 at-bats during his senior season for the University of Missouri-St. Louis of the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference in 2006. He spent time in left field, first base and third base, but primarily served as designated hitter for the Rivermen.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

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