Ellis, Kozma trade places on Cardinals roster

Second baseman Mark Ellis is ready to come off the disabled list, bumping shortstop Pete Kozma to Triple-A.

Though the move was expected, it happened quicker than many thought, including me. After just one rehab game in which he appeared for five innings for Triple-A Memphis on Sunday, second baseman Mark Ellis has been activated by the St. Louis Cardinals from the 15-day disabled list. The 36-year-old will join the team in Milwaukee Tuesday evening.

Ellis appeared in just 12 games during spring training and opened the season on the DL as he dealt with patella tendinitis in his left knee. The 11-year major league veteran was signed by the Cardinals to a one-year, $5.25 million free-agent contract on December 16, 2013 and is expected to provide a right-handed hitting alternative to rookie Kolten Wong at second base.

In the corresponding transaction, the Cardinals optioned shortstop Pete Kozma to Memphis. The 26-year-old had a month to remember as St. Louis' starting shortstop in September 2012. After Rafael Furcal was injured, Kozma hit .330 and drove in 11. Though he remained the club's starter the entire 2013 season and played solid defense, Kozma's hitting was subpar (.217 batting average). In St. Louis' first 13 games of the season, the right-handed hitter played sparingly, going 1-for-3 at the dish.

The Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta during the off-season to become St. Louis' eighth Opening Day shortstop in the last eight seasons. At Memphis, Kozma is expected to join the middle infield rotation with Greg Garcia and slumping Luis Mateo. The Redbirds have yet to announce the necessary move to accommodate Kozma on their 25-man active roster.

Click here to view the Cardinals 25-man roster with links to every player's extensive history files at The Cardinal Nation. To see the Cardinals' entire system, majors and minors, by level and position along with every transaction all year long, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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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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