Swagerty, Martinez Among 12 on the Move

Two of the brightest young pitching stars in the St. Louis Cardinals system are being promoted. Ten other moves are also noted.

Though not yet officially announced by the St. Louis Cardinals, I have confirmed that right-handed pitcher Jordan Swagerty is being promoted to the Palm Beach Cardinals of the A-Advanced Florida State League. The 21-year-old was the April Pitcher of the Month for the system as named by both the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation.com.

Expected to replace Swagerty in the six-man rotation with the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Class A Midwest League is right-hander Carlos Martinez. The 19-year-old Dominican Republic native is our fifth-ranked prospect in the Cardinals system.

Through five starts with the River Bandits, Swagerty has a minuscule 1.50 ERA and has fanned 30 batters in 30 innings. More impressively, he has walked only two batters to date. Opposing hitters are managing just a .178 average against him.

Swagerty was selected by the Cardinals in the second round, 75th overall, of the 2010 June draft from Arizona State University. After signing in August, he did not pitch until the Arizona Fall League, where he made four relief appearances before being sidelined by a minor oblique pull.

Martinez has yet to appear in regular season action after dominating in the Dominican Summer League in 2010 after signing last spring for $1.5 million. Once a visa was secured to allow him to travel to the USA, he joined regular minor league spring training, where he impressed.

The Cardinals decided to give Martinez another month in Florida to acclimate to the USA before assigning him to a full-season club. He had been pitching in Extended Spring Training since regular spring training ended.

The corresponding roster moves at Palm Beach will be added once they are disclosed. I don't know Martinez' pitching schedule, but Swagerty started in Quad Cities' six-man rotation on Wednesday, so formalizing the moves may not be of immediate urgency.

In addition to the Swagerty move, it was announced two days ago that the Florida State League club would be adding outfielder Kyle Conley, but he was not to be activated until today.

Update: Here is the complete list of Palm Beach transactions from Friday. The Springfield corresponding moves will be added as they become available.

OF Ryde Rodriguez unconditionally released from Palm Beach roster
LHP Samuel Freeman transferred from Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield
OF/IF Alan Ahmady transferred from Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield

IF Phil Cerreto activated from Palm Beach disabled list
OF Kyle Conley transferred from Class-A Quad Cities to Palm Beach
OF D'Marcus Ingram activated from Palm Beach suspended list

Update #2: Palm Beach right-hander Maikel Cleto has been promoted to Springfield, though not yet officially activated. On the 40-man roster, the hard-thrower joined the organization in the Brendan Ryan trade. In his last outing, the stadium radar gun had him hitting 99 MPH consistently.

Update #3 (Saturday, 1 P.M. CDT): The Cleto and Swagerty transactions have officially been announced along with three other moves at Springfield.

It was a bad day for former eighth-rounders. The Cardinals needed to clear three roster spots in Springfield for Cleto, Ahmady and Freeman. The moves were announced Saturday as left-handed pitcher Ryan Kulik and outfielder Tyler Henley were released and reliever Jose Rada was placed on the seven-day disabled list, retroactive to May 5.

Once thought to be on the cusp of reaching the majors, Henley had Tommy John surgery last summer. This season, he was struggling mightily, hitting just .156 (7-for-45) for the Double-A club. Turning 26 next month, Henley had joined the Cardinals as their eighth-round selection in the 2007 draft.

A former starter, Kulik was also vulnerable after being knocked around to the tune of an 8.38 ERA in 9 2/3 innings as a left-handed specialist in 2011. The 25-year-old was the Cardinals' pick in the same round one year after Henley.

Rada, 23, appeared in two games with Palm Beach before joining Springfield. In the Texas League, Rada had one save, one win and two losses to go with a 5.23 ERA. He threw 10 1/3 innings over eight outings. His strikeout to walk ratio is 11:3, but he also served up three enemy long balls.

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

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