Cardinals tweak minors relief assignments

Four St. Louis Cardinals minor league pitchers are changing spots before the season begins.

When organizations like the St. Louis Cardinals disclose their minor league rosters several days in advance, they go to great pains to explain the assignments are only preliminary and are subject to change. We were reminded of that reality on Wednesday, as four moves have been made with more expected on Thursday with the opening of the minor league season.

Pitchers on the move include left-handed relief pitchers Nick Greenwood and Justin Wright and right-handers Deryk Hooker and Jesse Simpson, reports

Greenwood did not have to return to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals to open the 2012 season after all. The 24-year-old has been reassigned to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds from the Texas League club.

Greenwood, who joined the Cardinals from San Diego in the Ryan Ludwick trade in July 2010, had been a non-roster invitee to St. Louis' major league camp this spring. Last season, he appeared in team-leading 59 games for Springfield, posting a 4.31 ERA. The Connecticut native also made a one-game fill-in appearance with Memphis in 2011.

By Thursday's Pacific Coast League opening day, the Redbirds are expected to make another related move of a player in conjunction with Greenwood's addition to their roster.

Springfield placed right-handed pitcher Deryk Hooker on the seven-day disabled list with a fractured radial head bone in his left elbow. Moved to the bullpen this season, the Cardinals' seventh-round selection in the 2007 draft is coming off an injury-interrupted 2011. Hooker made three rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League and Palm Beach plus 11 in the Texas League last summer. His Springfield ERA was 4.94.

Both Wright and Simpson are moving up to Springfield from the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.

Wright, 22, had a stellar 2011 and in fact, two-year Cardinals career. The 47th-round pick in 2010 has a career ERA of 0.90, the lowest of any St. Louis draftee that year. Wright has held opponents scoreless in 31 of his 37 career appearances.

Last season, he split time between Quad Cities, where he was an All-Star, and Palm Beach. Wright then was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, where he was unscored upon in seven of 10 games. The lefty will be making his Texas League debut.

Simpson, 25, had an 18-game stint with Springfield last season after six early-season outings with Palm Beach. By June, he had been returned to the Florida State League. The right-hander yielded 14 runs in 22 2/3 Texas League innings for a 5.56 ERA. Simpson's Palm Beach ERA was markedly better at 1.54.

Palm Beach had been at 27 players prior to these moves, so their roster, as well as Springfield's, is at the magic 25 for Thursday's opening day. However, Palm Beach may still disable their third catcher and add another pitcher on Thursday.

As always, to reference full-team rosters for 2012 and prior seasons, click on "Minor League Rosters," located in the red area on the center of the page under The Cardinal Nation logo. Links to our extensive player profile pages can be found there or you can simply click on any highlighted player name on this, or any article on the site.

Finally, don't forget the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog, where you can view the entire Cardinals organization of 253 players from top to bottom, by level and position.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his minor league features during the season at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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