Miller Among First Nine Cardinals Cut

The St. Louis Cardinals have shifted nine players from major league to minor league camp, including top prospect Shelby Miller.

As discussed at The Cardinal Nation Blog this morning, with the St. Louis Cardinals mini-camp ending and minor league pitchers and catchers reporting on Monday, March 7, the first cuts from major league camp were expected to be announced no later than Monday.

Sure enough, following Sunday's rain-shortened 7-2 loss to Florida, eight players were reassigned to the organization's minor league camp and one already on the 40-man roster was optioned out. They are:

Pitchers: Shelby Miller, Kevin Thomas and Scott McGregor
Catchers: Nick Derba, Steven Hill, Audry Perez and Robert Stock
Infielders: Donovan Solano and Zack Cox (optioned)

Zack Cox
The group includes the organization's first round picks in each of the last two drafts in Cox and Miller. Cox had eight official plate appearances in four games while in big-league camp. The 21-year-old had a single, double, a walk and a strikeout. Miller, 20, had one two-inning outing during which he faced the minimum six batters. The right-hander allowed one hit, but the runner was erased on a double play. He walked none and struck out one.

Thomas, who started Sunday's game, yielded two earned runs in a total of four innings pitched over two outings. The 24-year-old right-hander gave up five hits and two walks, hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch. McGregor, 24, did not see game action in his first major league camp. Both ended last season with Springfield.

Of the four reassigned catchers, Hill was the only one to take the field in a major league spring game. He went hitless in two at-bats. Hill, who turns 26 next week, made a brief MLB debut last season but was removed from the 40-man roster in November.

Like Hill, infielder Solano is expected to return to Triple-A Memphis to start the 2011 season. The 23-year-old native of Colombia went 0-for-3 at the plate for St. Louis in four spring contests.

Looking ahead

Having started with 61 players in major league camp, a full 40-man roster and 21 non-roster invitees, the Cardinals now have 52 players remaining to compete for the 25 active roster spots available to open the season. (The 52 include injured players Adam Wainwright and Nick Punto, both destined for the disabled list.)

The nine reassigned players join 72 other pitchers and 71 position players in this year's minor league camp, under the direction of Field Coordinator Mark DeJohn. Position players report on Wednesday, March 9 with the first full squad workouts on Thursday, March 10.

Full and up-to-date spring camp rosters, both major and minor league versions, can be referenced at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

Premium Article The Cardinal Nation subscribers can view full minor league spring training game schedules here. Contests against external competition begin on Friday, March 18.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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