First Base Crunch Claims Cardinals' Rivera

The St. Louis Cardinals have parted ways with minor league first baseman Francisco Rivera.

As they near the end of minor league spring training camp on Monday, April 4, the members of the St. Louis Cardinals player development staff have almost completed their player releases to make their opening day 98-man limit for their four full-season clubs.

The 13th casualty this spring is first baseman Francisco Rivera, released on Thursday morning.

Rivera, who had been listed on the Palm Beach working roster, was competing directly for a roster spot with two other first basemen, Phil Cerreto and Curt Smith. The 23-year-old native of Mexico lost out in the three-way battle.

The jam was exacerbated by the apparent leap by Matt Adams from Quad Cites over Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield. Adams led the entire Cardinals system in batting average and slugging and was second in hits, home runs and RBI in 2010.

Francisco Rivera
Signed four years ago, in January 2007, as a non-drafted free agent, Rivera missed his first professional season due to injury. The left-handed hitter began play with Class A Quad Cities in 2008 and moved up to A-Advanced Palm Beach the next year.

Rivera returned to the Florida State League in 2010, but was lost for the year after May 1. In 44 at-bats over 11 contests last season, he posted a .250 batting average with no home runs and eight RBI.

Rivera's Cardinals career ends with a total of 689 plate appearances in 182 games. His slash line was .267/.317/.366. Rivera never really developed consistent power expected from the position as he hit a total of just four career home runs and drove in 80.

The Cardinals will complete their final roster cut downs primarily by placing players on the disabled list to open the season. Also, at the Single A level and below, a group of younger players will be held over for Extended Spring Training, which begins on Tuesday, April 6.

To view working, non-final rosters for Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach and Quad Cities, click here.

Daily minor league game recaps

Again this spring, I am running recaps of each day's minor league games at my blog, The Cardinal Nation Blog. Game results, player highlights and photos are provided each evening covering that afternoon's results and a look ahead to the next day. Check them out!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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