Cardinals minor league injury news: 05/18/13

Status of 17 injured, rehabbing and transferred St. Louis Cardinals minor league players.

In Wednesday's extended spring training camp report, there were 10 players whose missing roster status I had left open to investigate. I will explain about them here, but before I do that, there are seven other players higher in the system worthy of updates as well. I will start with them.

Swagerty and Voss
Full-season rehabbers

Coming off Tommy John surgery, left-hander Jay Voss is healthy and going to be sent out soon, though not necessarily to Memphis. The Triple-A DL assignment to open the season is considered a paper move. The minor league Rule 5 addition could begin at Palm Beach or perhaps Springfield. Based on what I saw of his pitching on Tuesday, that approach seems to make sense. Voss is encouraged, noting the 22nd will be his one-year anniversary of his Dr. Andrews-done procedure. He had encountered the problem five weeks earlier, but the severity of the tear was not initially understood until after rehab was unsuccessful.

Springfield's Jordan Swagerty's progress returning from TJS was delayed when he developed a small bone spur in his elbow. It is considered minor. There was treatment but no procedure was required. The right-hander is behind, throwing bullpens, but has had no game action yet. Organization officials seem unconcerned. I joked with Swagerty that he needs to get back to pitching in games again so he has something to blog about. He agreed, noting "No one wants to read about a rehabber."

First baseman Jeremy Schaffer sports a 4-6 inch scar on the inside of his left wrist. It is a by-product of a break suffered in a collision just a few days before the end of spring training. At this point, Schaffer has just been cleared to begin hitting off a tee.

With seven pitchers on the Palm Beach disabled list, I looked into the status of several the most prominent ones. As I mentioned in the extended spring camp notes from Tuesday, Tyler Melling was back pitching in extended spring games. He was activated by Palm Beach on Friday and may rejoin the rotation as soon as Saturday.

Two relievers, early minor league camp invitee Zack Russell and our top 2012 Palm Beach reliever Aidan Lucas, are considered to be about a month away from returning. Logan Billbrough is even further out as he told me that his Tommy John procedure was last July 13.

Brad Watson was on the rehab list in minor league spring camp with shoulder problems, but is now among the active pitchers. In fact, the right-hander, who finished in the Midwest League last year, threw five one-run innings in EST on Wednesday.

EST "others"

Victor De Leon is considered by coaches to be one of the strongest pitchers in camp, but has had shoulder problems that he has not gotten though as of yet. As a result, he remains on the rehab list. The right-hander apparently still needs to learn there is more to pitching than just pure velocity. De Leon should get plenty of innings this summer.

As I noted in Wednesday's report, Alex Reyes is pitching in games. The fact that he is on the rehab list is a paper move. He is expected to go to a short season team. The 18-year-old right-hander's talent is off the charts, according to coaches. There was an honest debate among some of the staffers comparing him to Carlos Martinez. Honest.

Infielder Leandro Mateo, who finished 2012 with Johnson City, is out of action due an injury. The 23-year-old required surgery to remove his hamate bone in his hand. The timing of his return is unclear.

Outfielder Jhohan Acevedo had also been missing from among the active players in EST. The 20-year-old, who played in the Gulf Coast League last season, suffered a wrist injury. It did not require surgery, so the right-handed hitter may be able to return sooner than later. In fact, he was cleared to play defense in Thursday's White camp scrimmage.

Lefty Ben Freeman was on the rehab list with a shoulder this spring as was right-hander Tyler Mills due to an elbow. As noted in Thursday's report, Mills threw an inning against the Marlins that day. While healthy physically, he does not yet appear ready for full action.

Not listed on the injury report but not playing this week is infielder Eliezer Alvarez. The 2012 DSL Cardinals infielder suffered a forearm strain that is considered to be minor.

Non-injury roster changes

A trio of 17-year-olds from the Dominican academy who were earlier at EST are now back with the Dominican Summer League Cardinals. They include catcher Joshua Lopez and shortstop Edmundo Sosa. Same with pitcher Ronald Medrano, who apparently has a contract clause that includes an EST invite.

The plan all along was for the three to get a brief US experience prior to playing in the 2013 DSL, whose season begins on June 1.

Link to earlier reports
Cards extended spring camp report: 05/16/13
Cards extended spring camp report: 05/15/13
Cards extended spring camp report: 05/14/13

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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