Cardinals Release Minor Leaguers Smith, Tapia

The St. Louis Cardinals cut loose two A-ball players, outfielder Ross Smith and right-handed pitcher Miguel Tapia.

In an almost daily routine, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to trim minor leaguers from their ranks. Tuesday's releases are right-handed pitcher Miguel Tapia and outfielder Ross Smith, as first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

As with the ten others previously cut this spring, the two are not viewed to be competitive for a full-season roster and are not being kept in camp for Extended Spring Training.

Ross Smith
Smith, 23, was selected in the 14th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft from Middle Georgia College. The organization had also taken him three years earlier in the 32nd round, but he did not sign.

The right-handed hitter, son of Cardinals scout Roger Smith, had a rough opening to his professional career with a line of .190/.294/.359 and a eye-catching 70 strikeouts in 184 at bats with Johnson City. Smith did manage six home runs and nine stolen bases in 2009.

Last season, Smith was constantly on the move. He began in Extended Spring Training and was then assigned to A-Advanced Palm Beach as an injury replacement in May. After going 1-for-13 (.077), he was returned to EST. In mid-June, Smith broke camp with Batavia. After going 4-for-15 (.267) in the New York-Penn League, he was called upon to join Quad Cities in early July.

Smith went onto Quad Cities' disabled list in mid-August having logged a .188/.270/.213 line over 80 Midwest League at-bats. He had no home runs and two RBI. By the end of the month, Smith was reactivated but sent back to Batavia. Before he could report however, Matt Adams was injured, so Smith remained with the River Bandits. He finished 2010 with a .492 OPS across the three league stops.

Miguel Tapia
Tapia is a 23-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic. He was first signed as a non-drafted free agent in April 2006 and is not to be confused with another right-handed pitcher also from his homeland, Angel Tapia, who is two years younger. This Tapia goes by "Miguel".

Miguel both started and relieved during his first four seasons in the system before exclusively working out of the bullpen in 2010. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2006 and 2007 before moving up one level in each of the three successive seasons. Tapia was with Batavia in 2008, Quad Cities in 2009 and pitched in nine games for Palm Beach last summer.

Tapia opened the 2010 season on the disabled list and ended the season there as well due to shoulder problems. He did not pitch in spring games and was projected to open this season on the DL.

Tapia ends his Cardinals career with a 3.85 ERA in 243 innings over 93 games. He struck out 199 but also issued 124 free passes.

Spring camp rosters by position, with cuts noted, in both major and minor league versions, can be seen at The Cardinal Nation Blog.

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