Cardinals minor league ranks pruned

A number of St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers have been released, retired or are unsigned after having been reported as signed. Injury and position change news is also included.

As the 2012 short-season rosters are set and game schedules have begun in all three leagues in which the St. Louis Cardinals participate, we find that some players have been left behind. The futures of a few were decided by them while others were given the unpleasant news that their services are no longer competitive.

Specifically, two players have been released – pitchers Jose Rada and Angel Tapia. Rule 5 pick Shooter Hunt has chosen to retire without ever having thrown an official pitch while a member of the organization.

Done isn't always done when considering draftees. Two members of the 2012 class, selected earlier this month and announced as signed by the Cardinals on June 9, did not sign, after all. They are outfielder Dodson McPherson, taken in the 28th round and the organization's 34th rounder, left-handed pitcher Mark Trentacosta.

Three other "signed" players from the draft are not yet officially assigned to a team. Two are still in MLB processing, supplemental first rounder Stephen Piscotty, ticketed for Quad Cities and 17th rounder, pitcher Chris Perry. Catcher Rowan Wick, the organization's ninth round pick, a Canadian, requires a work visa, which is in process.

Tapia, 22, joined the organization in November 2008 as a free agent from the Dominican Republic. The right-hander was a tandem starter the first two season in the Dominican Summer League then joined the Gulf Coast League Cardinals last summer as a reliever.

Tapia ends his three years as a Cardinal with a 9-2 record and a 2.73 ERA. He struck out 83, but issued 45 free passes in 108 2/3 career innings.

Rada, 24, had been out since last July. The right-hander was pitching for Double-A Springfield at the time. He returned to the mound in winter ball at home in Venezuela, only to blow out his elbow. Tommy John surgery followed so Rada was slated to miss the entire 2012 campaign.

Rada finished his six years in the system with a 17-17 record, 20 saves and a 4.23 ERA. He fanned 228 and walked 61 in 247 innings, including 21 starts.

Hunt, 25, became a Cardinal in December when selected from the Minnesota Twins in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft. The former Tulane player was the Twins' 1st-round selection in the 2008 draft, taken 31st overall.

Despite a mid-90's fastball, Hunt never could master his control. He reached as far as A-Advanced for two seasons, logging a career 6.85 ERA and walking more batters (236) than he struck out (219). Those totals were accrued in just 193 innings.

McPherson, 21, was the Cardinals' 28th round pick in the 2012 Draft. The outfielder competed for Wingate College (NC), and had been expected to be assigned to the Batavia Muckdogs.

In McPherson's junior season, he was named the South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year and was a Division II All-American after batting .400 with 17 home runs and 78 RBI. As a senior, McPherson dropped to .330 with 12 home runs in 55 games.

Trentacosta, a 21-year-old Californian, was used primary out of the California-Irvine bullpen as a junior in 2012. In 34 innings, he logged 26 strikeouts and only five walks. Trentacosta missed 2011 as a redshirt, but did play summer ball in the West Coast League, where he led the league in saves with 11.

On the shelf

Among the players starting the season on the inactive lists of the short-season clubs are (on disabled list unless noted):

Batavia: Second baseman Danny Stienstra, outfielder Reggie Williams (suspended), pitcher Jose Pasen (suspended).

Johnson City: Pitchers Roberto Canache, Eduardo Hiraldo, Josh Lucas and Tyler Mills, plus outfielder Charlie Tilson.

The good news is that all had been previously reported as being out, meaning no new serious injuries. Remember to click on any highlighted player's name to read part articles and news items concerning him.

Position change

I had reported from Jupiter earlier that catcher Luis Perez was working out at second base. Unfortunately, through a miscommunication with an organization official, it was said to not be permanent. The correct answer is that Perez stopped catching this spring and is now a full-time second baseman. He is on the Gulf Coast League roster.

Team rosters

All rosters and player pages are up to date with team assignments, uniform numbers and background information. Please take full advantage of these free resources.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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