Cards add two arms to extended spring camp

The St. Louis Cardinals have signed two right-handed pitchers to join their extended spring training camp.

You can never have enough pitching, goes the old adage.

The St. Louis Cardinals must agree with that as they have invited a pair of undrafted college pitchers to join those invited to extended spring training camp, which begins on April 3 in Jupiter, Florida.

The two newest Cardinals are Kevin Carlow and Jeff Barkley, both 23-year-old right-handed pitchers.

Carlow
Pitching as a fourth-year senior for the Ivy League Brown Bears in 2013, Carlow posted a 0-7 record with a 4.02 ERA in 10 starts. The Connecticut native fanned 55 in 56 innings, but also issued 27 free passes.

A prep teammate of Mets star Matt Harvey, Carlow is said to throw in the 89-91 range and once topped out at 94. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder also competed in the Valley, Cape Cod and New England Collegiate Baseball Leagues during the summers.

Unsure of his direction after college, Carlow has been working for a web-based company that connects athletes to speaking engagements. It was a temporary bridge to his heading to Spain to continue pursuing his baseball dreams there.

Those plans have changed, thanks to a call from St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz.

According to an article in the New London (CT) paper, theday.com, Carlow scored his invitation to Cardinals extended spring training camp through a special connection – from Carlow's coach Marek Drabinski to Kantrovitz, a former All-Ivy League shortstop for the Bears.

Barkley
Jeff Barkley graduated in 2013 from a school not known for baseball stars, Pfeiffer University in Misenhimer, North Carolina. After going undrafted, the 6-foot-5, 210-pounder tried out for the Atlanta Braves and with the Major League Scouting Bureau, but remained unsigned. Cardinals scouts had kept in touch with Barkley and made him the offer in January after Springfield manager Mike Shildt watched him throw.

Closing for the Cobras, Barkley picked up six saves in 24 appearances totaling 30 2/3 innings his senior season for the NCAA Division II school. He also appeared for the Pineville Pioneers in the Southern Collegiate Baseball League.

Barkley is his family's third generation of professional baseball players. His father, Jeff Barkley Sr., was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 13th round in 1982 and pitched for the major league club in 1984-85. Jeff's grandfather, Bill Barkley, played in the Washington Senators organization.

Deals with the two will be finalized once they report to camp and pass physicals.

Before one writes off the chances of the two as being the longest of long shots, one must only look back to last spring to see this approach can bear fruit for the Cardinals.

Right-hander Brady Adamek, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound right-hander, blazed the same trail. By way of Neosho County Community College and Oakland (Michigan) University, the Colorado native signed a free agent deal with the Cardinals last January and made his professional debut in extended spring training.

Had he not tweaked his back in May, he would have joined Peoria sooner than the start of July. Adamek, who appeared briefly with Palm Beach and State College in addition to the Class-A Chiefs, posted a 1.70 ERA in 37 innings over 24 appearances. He fanned 36 and walked 16 in a solid debut season.



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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