Cardinals outfielders on the move

On Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals initiated four transactions across the system, all affecting outfielders.

The transactions are:

Allen Craig has begun his rehab assignment with the A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals and is starting on Saturday.

Tommy Pham has been placed on the disabled list of Double-A Springfield.

Kyle Conley has been moved to from Palm Beach to Springfield.

Michael Swinson has been activated from Palm Beach's DL.

The Craig move is by far the most notable. The major league club has lacked his services in 2012 due to his extended recovery from off-season knee surgery. The 27-year-old last played on March 24 in minor league spring training. He reported to extended spring training action at the Cardinals facility in Jupiter, Florida earlier this week.

According to MLB rules, Craig is allowed 20 days maximum in his minor league rehab stint before St. Louis is required to take action. Especially given injuries to Lance Berkman and Jon Jay, one would have to assume the big league club would want Craig back as soon as he proves he is fully ready.

Pham, our 23rd-ranked Cardinals prospect, has a long history of frustrating injuries. The 24-year-old was removed from the Springfield Cardinals game Thursday night after re-injuring his right shoulder. At the time, the outfielder was diving back to first base during a pickoff attempt.

Pham was making just his second start in the field this season for the Double-A club. He first hurt the shoulder diving for a ball in minor league spring training camp on March 22, an injury I witnessed in person.

S-Cards' manager Mike Shildt told the Springfield News-Leader that he fears surgery as Pham has multiple tears within the interior of the shoulder joint. The official injury is listed as a right shoulder strain. Pham will meet with Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta on Monday.

Pham's injury allows Conley to finally make his Double-A debut. While the 24-year-old began the season on Springfield's roster, it was on their disabled list due to a rib injury on his left side suffered during spring training camp.

One week ago, Conley was activated from Springfield's disabled list but was placed on the Palm Beach roster. Ironically, he replaced Swinson, who has now reclaimed his roster spot.

Conley spent most of 2011 with Palm Beach, posting an .808 OPS in 72 games. In four Florida State League games this past week, the right-handed hitter went 2-for-13 (.154), including a home run.

Swinson, 22, spent exactly seven days on the shelf. He went on the Florida State League club's seven-day disabled list, effective Saturday, April 14, with a hamstring injury.

In his first FSL action after two seasons of Class-A ball with Quad Cities, the left-handed hitter began slowly. In seven games, Swinson had six hits in 29 at-bats (.207), all singles. He added an RBI and one stolen base in two attempts. Swinson drew just one walk against six strikeouts.

Note: In other major league outfielder news, FOX Sports Midwest reports that Jon Jay hit and threw Saturday for the first time since hurting his shoulder on Thursday. Jay said he is feeling much better.

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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