Rodriguez and De la Cruz spent the first 50 games of the 2011 season on the restricted list while serving their mandatory MLB suspensions for failed tests for banned substances.
De la Cruz, a right-hander who turns 19 next week, had tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone, a performance-enhancing substance. His suspension was announced last August 31 so his time out began at the start of the 2011 season.
The native of Santiago, Dominican Republic was signed as a non-drafted free agent in October 2009. In his rookie pro season, the converted third baseman appeared in just seven games for the DSL Cardinals. De La Cruz had a 4.70 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. His strikeout to walk ratio was a poor 11:19.
Rodriguez, 20, hails from Santiago, Dominican Republic. The left-hander's penalty was for use of the same PED as De La Cruz and his suspension was announced at the same time. He originally signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 25, 2008.
In 2009, Rodriguez posted a 1-0 record with a 4.50 ERA in nine games in relief for the DSL Cardinals. Last season, he went 3-1 with a 3.74 in 13 games, including four starts. Rodriguez fanned 41 but issued 24 free passes in 33 2/3 innings.
Martinez, 18, is a native of Maracaibo, Venezuela. The outfielder should not be confused with the former Cardinals minor league second baseman of the same name who also hails from Venezuela.
Signed in January 2010, Martinez did not play in the DSL until 2011. He managed just 33 at-bats in 15 games this season. The right-handed hitter collected just five hits, all singles. His line was .152/.317/.152.
De Aguas, a 19-year-old Colombian left-hander, first signed with the Cardinals in May 2009. That summer, he posted a 0-2 record with two saves and a 1.42 ERA in 15 games including two starts for the Venezuelan Summer League Cardinals. De Aguas missed the entire 2010 season due to injury.
Coming back in 2011 with the DSL Cards, he appeared in nine games. De Aguas had a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings. While he fanned 16, he also issued 13 free passes.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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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