On Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they had optioned outfielder Joey Butler to Memphis. However, the 28-year-old had yet to report or be added to the Triple-A roster. On Friday, it became apparent why.
Instead, the Cardinals had requested outright release waivers on Butler. It was the second time in the last 60 days he was removed from the 40-man roster. Before he could have declared free agency, St. Louis sold his contract to the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
Butler appeared in five games with the Cardinals following the purchase of his contract from Memphis on May 9. He went 0-for-5 including three strikeouts and walked once. Butler was never given a start with St. Louis.
To open the season, his first in the organization, the right-handed hitter had been off to a tremendous start with Memphis, batting .360 with four home runs and 20 RBI in 31 games. Butler had been claimed by the Cardinals off waivers from the Texas Rangers in October, before outfielders Randal Grichuk, Peter Bourjos and Rafael Ortega joined the organization.
Butler will join an Orix team that is currently leading the NPB Pacific League with a 29-16 mark. There, he will be teamed with former Cardinals pitcher Brandon Dickson as well as ex-Major Leaguers Wily Mo Pena and Esteban German, also on the Buffaloes' roster.
The move puts the Cardinals 40-man Major League roster at 39. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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