Six Cardinals minor leaguers on the move

At least six moves affecting the middle levels of the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system were announced on Wednesday.

In Corey Baker, Springfield receives a fast-rising replacement for Deryk Hooker, promoted to Memphis on Monday. Peoria gets back one of its top prospects from the disabled list, outfielder Charlie Tilson, and receives a hard-throwing reliever in Zack Russell. Outfielder Michael Swinson reaches the end of the line in his Cardinals career.

• Right-handed pitcher Corey Baker transferred from Palm Beach to Springfield
• Right-handed pitcher Zack Russell returned from injury rehab assignment at Gulf Coast League, activated from Palm Beach disabled list and transferred to Peoria
• Outfielder Charlie Tilson activated from Peoria's disabled list
• Peoria outfielder Michael Swinson unconditionally released

Baker, 23, has been much traveled this season. The right-hander began the season with Peoria and was named a Midwest League first-half all-star despite having been promoted to Palm Beach on May 22.

When Springfield had a run of rain-induced double-headers mid-month, the Cardinals moved Baker up to make a spot start on June 15. After allowing four runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings in his spot start against Northwest Arkansas, Baker was returned to Palm Beach. This time, perhaps the move will not be reversed.

With Palm Beach, Baker allowed six earned runs in 18 1/3 innings for a 2.95 ERA. A versatile pitcher, he started two Florida State League games and came out of the pen in three others. Baker fanned 10 but issued six free passes while holding FSL hitters to a collective .222 average.

Russell, 23, has yet to make his official 2013 debut as he is coming off Palm Beach's disabled list. The invitee to Cardinals early minor league camp did make two appearances this week on a rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. He threw two scoreless innings on two hits and two strikeouts. Russell last pitched in the Midwest League in 2011, his final season as a starter.

Tilson, 20, is coming off his second disabled list stint of the season. The left-handed hitter was out from May 22-31 with this time out starting on June 13. The issue was a hamstring injury.

The 2011 2nd-rounder has a line of .294/.337/.393 in 163 at-bats over 46 Midwest League games. Tilson missed the entire 2012 season due to a shoulder injury.

Swinson, 23, has long been considered to have substantial talent, but over parts of six seasons, was unable to put it together consistently. The left-handed hitter was just activated from his second DL stint of the season on June 20 after a hip injury.

In 40 Midwest League games in 2013, Swinson had a line of .207/.299/.281. He logged 39 strikeouts against 28 hits. The Cards' 12th rounder in 2008 first reached the Midwest League in 2010 and had a dismal 22-game tryout with Palm Beach in 2012.

Updates

In two additional moves announced by the State College Spikes Wednesday afternoon, right-handed pitcher Arturo Reyes was placed on the seven-day disabled List, retroactive to June 24 and right-hander Josh Lucas has been activated from the DL.

Reyes was the Cardinals' 40th rounder this June from Gonzaga. The 21-year-old has yet to make his professional debut.

Update: Reyes has been suffering "arm tenderness." With him coming off a long college season, the organization is going to play it safe and give Reyes adequate rest.

Lucas, 22, has been well-traveled this season. The 6-foot-6 right-hander made four starts for Peoria, but after struggling, was sent back to extended spring training. On Tuesday, he pitched 3 1/3 innings of relief in a rehab outing with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals, allowing six runs, five earned. Lucas missed all of 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.



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

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