Wilson, Cooney Named Top League Players

Springfield Cardinals second baseman Jacob Wilson has been named the Texas League Player of the Week, joined by Memphis pitcher Tim Cooney in the Pacific Coast League. Monday Cards minor league player news also included.

Second baseman Jacob Wilson of the Springfield Cardinals is currently working on a seven-game hitting streak. That coincides with the 23-year-old being named the Texas League Player of the Week for the period of May 26 through June 1.

During that time, the right-handed hitter went 12-for-25 (.480), including five doubles and two home runs. Wilson drove in eight, scored four times, drew three free passes and even swiped a base.

In his first 21 games since being promoted to Double-A on May 5, Wilson has a robust line of .338/.405/.581/.986 in 74 at-bats to go with 15 RBI. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder has just nine strikeouts and seven walks.

In 2013, Wilson was the top position player on the Class-A Peoria Chiefs, according to The Cardinal Nation and was TCN's 28th-ranked Cardinals organization prospect coming into the 2014 season.

Wilson opened this season at Palm Beach, having played a total of 32 games at A-Advanced to conclude last season and 30 more this year before his most recent promotion. He also competed in the Arizona Fall League.

Cooney Adds PCL Top Hurler Honors

Memphis Redbirds left-handed pitcher Tim Cooney has been named the Pacific Coast League's Pitcher of the Week for the May 26 – June 1 period.

The 23-year-old tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout at the Iowa Cubs, 4-0, during last Thursday's Minor League Baseball "Game of the Week" national telecast on CBS Sports Network at AutoZone Park. Cooney was one out away from recording the first no-hitter in Redbirds franchise history before Iowa's Arismendy Alcantara singled to left in the top of the ninth inning.

The third-round pick from the 2012 draft retired 27 of his 30 batters faced on the evening, striking out seven and walking two over a career-high nine innings. Seventy-three of his 101 pitches were thrown for strikes.

Cooney's complete-game, one-hitter was the fourth in Redbirds history, joining Clint Sodowsky (April 29, 1999 vs. Salt Lake), Brett Reames (August 8, 2000 vs. Sacramento), and Anthony Reyes (May 19, 2005 vs. Portland).

Overall for Memphis during his Triple-A debut season, Cooney has tossed six quality starts in 11 outings, going 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA (28 earned runs in 66 innings). The Cardinal Nation's 12th-ranked prospect coming into the season has struck out a team-leading 50 batters against 24 walks.

The 23-year-old was previously recognized as the Cardinals organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Month for April. The PCL award comes on the heels of back-to-back Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors Cooney earned in August 2013 while at Double-A Springfield.

Gast Ready for More

After completing a stint in extended spring training camp, left-handed pitcher John Gast has been transferred from the disabled list of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds to the active roster of the Class A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals.

Now 23 years old, Gast's third and most recent mound outing with St. Louis was one year and one week ago, on May 25, 2013. The Florida native suffered a severe shoulder injury that required surgery and is trying to work his way back to the bigs.

As I noted in mid-May, at that point, Gast was already up to 65-70 pitches in EST. However, I did not get to see him pitch due to rain on his scheduled day. On his way up, Gast last pitched in the Florida State League in the first half of the 2011 season before receiving the Monday night start at Lakeland.

One Less Lucas

On May 17, reliever Josh Lucas joined Aidan Lucas (no relation) in the Palm Beach bullpen. To make room for Gast on the Florida State League Cardinals roster, Josh Lucas has been returned to short-season Class-A State College.

The 23-year-old right-hander appeared in four games and pitched well. Lucas allowed just one run in five innings on three hits and two walks. He fanned five.

Holback Held Back

Peoria starter Michael Holback, on the disabled list since May 29 with forearm tightness, will likely not be back in Midwest League action until after the all-star break, reports Dave Eminian of the Peoria Journal-Star.

Chase Brookshire will be getting Holback's starts in the interim. The Chiefs will begin second-half play on Thursday, June 19.

Salazar Released

The Cardinals have released right-handed pitcher Hector Salazar, reports Baseball America. The 19-year-old Panamanian pitched in the Dominican Summer League in 2011 and 2012, then joined the 2013 Gulf Coast League Cardinals. In his final season in the organization, Salazar appeared in 16 games, including five starts. He posted a 5.44 ERA in 41 1/3 innings, fanning 30 and walking 18.

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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