Robinson's Return Leads Cards Wednesday Moves

At least seven transactions have occurred across the St. Louis Cardinals system on Wednesday, led by the return of fifth outfielder Shane Robinson.

The St. Louis Cardinals kicked off another busy day of transactions on Wednesday by swapping a pair of outfielders between the major league and Triple-A clubs as well as changing out one pitcher and one position player at Class-A Peoria.

St. Louis recalled right-handed hitting outfielder Shane Robinson from Memphis and optioned outfielder Joey Butler to the Pacific Coast League club. The Triple-A Redbirds added a Wednesday starter in Kurt Heyer, up from Springfield.

Peoria placed outfielder Ronald Castillo on the seven-day disabled list and replaced him with catcher Gerwuins Velazco off the DL. The Chiefs also returned reliever Jeff Rauh to extended spring training and brought back hurler Jhonny Polanco.

Robinson's Hot Hand Recognized

Robinson, 29, began the season on the Cardinals Opening Day roster and had spent all of 2013 with the big-league club, as well. Before being sent down on April 27, the right-handed hitter appeared in 16 games (.100, 2-for-20), was used primarily as a pinch-hitter (11 plate appearances).

In 18 games with Memphis, Robinson batted .371 (23-for-62) with a .443 on-base mark. He was hitting.524 (11-for-21) against left-handed pitching and had multi-hit games in six of his last eight starts, including a three-hit performance Tuesday night at Colorado Springs. Robinson was batting .469 (15-for-32) over that eight-game stretch.

Butler on the Roundabout

Butler, 28, appeared in five games (three as a pinch-hitter) for the Cardinals following his May 9 purchase from Memphis. The right-handed hitter went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and a walk. Butler replaced Randal Grichuk in St. Louis, who had been brought in to replace Robinson.

With Memphis prior to his promotion, Butler was among the PCL leaders in numerous offensive categories. After mostly sitting on the bench in St. Louis for two weeks, he will have to ramp it up again in Triple-A and hope for another chance.

Heyer goes higher

The Memphis Redbirds have been using swingman Nick Greenwood as a spot starter for injured Boone Whiting. The left-hander had been the scheduled starter for the Redbirds in Colorado Springs Wednesday night, but was replaced with a new arrival, Kurt Heyer.

Heyer, 23, was promoted from Double-A Springfield to Memphis on Wednesday and will be making his Triple-A debut. He was 2-2 with a 5.51 ERA (29 earned runs in 47 1/3 innings) in his first nine starts with Springfield.

At this point, neither Memphis nor Springfield have announced corresponding transactions. We should see them on Thursday.

Here's Jhonny (again)

The Cardinals have returned right-handed pitcher Jhonny Polanco to the roster of Class-A Peoria. The 22-year-old Nicaraguan native had been with the Chiefs from April 28 through May 17, when he was returned to extended spring training for all of three days.

Earlier with the Midwest League club, Polanco logged a 6.75 ERA in six games, but in his last outing threw 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless ball.

Jeff Rauh: Short but only kinda sweet

Promoted to Peoria when Polanco was sent out last weekend, Jeff Rauh appeared in two games for the Chiefs in his Midwest League debut. The first was terrible; the second one was good.

The 24-year-old right-hander was pounded for six runs in 2/3 of an inning on Sunday, only to come back and throw 1 2/3 scoreless frames on Tuesday. Apparently it was too little, too late, as Rauh was sent back to extended spring training camp, replaced by Polanco.

Big bat in Castillo shelved

The Chiefs lost their top slugger and run producer for at least the next week as outfielder Ronald Castillo was placed on the seven-day disabled list due to an abdominal strain. The 21-year-old leads Peoria in doubles (10), RBI (29) and slugging (.417).

Velazco joins a crowded group

On the disabled list since the start of the season with what was called a knee injury, catcher Gerwuins Velazco remained with the Peoria Chiefs. The 22-year-old Venezuelan was activated on Wednesday to replace Castillo on the active roster.

Velazco becomes the third catcher behind two prospects in Carson Kelly and Steve Bean so may find at-bats hard to come by. Last season with the Chiefs, the right-handed hitter batted just .206 in 247 at-bats.

As always, to see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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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