Time finally runs out for Ronny Gil

The St. Louis Cardinals have cut ties with a former shortstop prospect with a checkered past.

Unlike most other springs in recent years, the St. Louis Cardinals had fewer players in minor league camp in 2014. One result is fewer releases this spring. However, another did occur on Sunday as the long and winding Cardinals career of the player originally known as Grabiel Hernandez and later as Ronny Gil came to its end.

Originally signed as a shortstop at the reported age of 16 in 2008, two years later the truth came out. During the application procedure for Hernandez to receive a visa to play in the States in 2010, a problem was discovered. The youngster was found to have falsified his age and identity with his real name being Gil. Not only did he age 2 1/2 years in the process, he was suspended for the year, losing key development time.

Gil had logged a .308 batting average in the Dominican Summer League in 2009, but the excitement was diminished when it became clear that he was 20 years old at the time, playing against teenagers. After his suspension, he competed in the Midwest League in 2011, and plateaued at A-Advanced Palm Beach the last two seasons. Like former keystone partner Starlin Rodriguez, Gil was converted into an outfielder in 2013.

Though he is now 25 years old, I thought the switch hitter might be given a little more time to acclimate to his new position, but that is not the case, likely due to his weak bat and advancing age. Gil would clearly not initially be competitive for Double-A Springfield this season, signaling an unusual third Palm Beach season would have been ahead.

The last two years in the Florida State League, Gil batted just .224 and .230, respectively, offering little hope his bat will come around. While he did steal 25 bases over the last two seasons, he was also cut down 10 times.

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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