Cardinals Promote Three, Drop Two from 40-Man

Tommy Pham and Sam Tuivailala will soon make their MLB debut and Greg Garcia has returned to St. Louis. The Cardinals future of Audry Perez and Rafael Ortega are in temporary limbo.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they that they have added three additional players to their active roster with rookie infielder Greg Garcia, outfielder Tommy Pham and right-handed pitcher Sam Tuivailala (pronounced TOO-ee-vah-lah-la) being promoted from the Memphis (AAA) roster.

To make room for the additional players on their 40-man Major League roster, the Cardinals designated catcher Audry Perez and outfielder Rafael Ortega for assignment. The Cardinals active roster currently stands at 36 players.

Garcia, 25, will be making his third appearance of the season with the Cardinals, while both Pham, 26, and Tuivailala, 21, will be making their Major League debuts with their first game appearances.

The right-handed hitting Garcia, who has appeared in nine games with the Cardinals this season, finished the 2014 minor league campaign with a .275 batting average, eight home runs and 41 RBI in 110 games between Memphis (AAA) and Springfield (AA). Garcia was drafted by the Cardinals in the 7th round (229th player overall) of the 2010 draft out of the University of Hawaii where he was teammates with Kolten Wong.

Pham, a 16th round (496th player overall) draft selection by the Cardinals in 2006 out of Durango High School in Las Vegas, NV, converted from shortstop to outfield in 2007 and has drawn accolades from Baseball America as one of the top defensive outfielders and top-rated outfield arms in the Cardinals organization. The right-handed hitting Pham, whose development has been slowed by multiple injuries, batted .324 (3rd in Pacific Coast League) with 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 104 games at Memphis, leading the team in batting, stolen bases (20) and triples (6).

The 6-3, 195-pound Tuivailala was selected by the Cardinals as a shortstop in the 3rd round (106th player overall) of the 2010 draft out of Aragon High School in San Mateo, CA. He converted to a pitcher in 2012 with Johnson City (Rookie).

Tuivailala has pitched at three levels (A, AA, AAA) this season, going a combined 2-2 with a 3.15 ERA and eight saves in 48 games with Palm Beach (A), Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA). His 97 strikeouts in 60.0 IP this season were the most of any minor league pitcher with 60 or fewer innings pitched.

The hard-throwing Tuivailala has allowed just two home runs in his 108.1 career innings pitched and struck out 170 (14.1 strikeouts/9 IP). He recorded strikeouts in 43 of his 48 appearances this season. Tuivailala has been selected to play for the Peoria Javelinas in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League.

Garcia wears uniform #35, while Pham has been assigned uniform #60 and Tuivailala #64.

Brian Walton’s take: The addition of Pham has been long-anticipated and is well-deserved. The right-handed hitter has enjoyed a strong season at Memphis and despite being the sixth outfielder on the active roster, may get a chance to pinch hit, run and/or be a defensive replacement late in games. Especially with fellow RHH reserve outfielders Randal Grichuk and Peter Bourjos playing better of late, the opportunities for Pham may be limited.

Tuivailala’s addition this soon is a surprise given he only arrived in Triple-A less than 10 days ago, on August 31. His velocity and strikeouts draw attention, as they should, but his control is still inconsistent. The Arizona Fall League is the right level of play for Tuivailala at this stage of his career and I would expect him to join that group at the end of the month. He may appear in a low pressure game or two for the Cardinals in the interim, but this call-up is primarily about exposure.

Garcia’s return was expected. Since last optioned out on August 25 when the Cardinals added an extra pitcher, the infielder helped out at both Springfield and Memphis.

On the August top 40 prospect list from The Cardinal Nation, Garcia was number 16, Pham 19 and Tuivailala 26.

In the cases of Perez and Ortega, the Cardinals have up to ten days to either trade, release or outright them to the minors. Ortega first joined the Cardinals on a waiver claim in January.

Roster Ramifications

As noted above, the Cardinals now have 36 players on their expanded active roster. In other words, the only active players on the 40-man roster not with St. Louis are Memphis relievers Jorge Rondon and Eric Fornataro and two injured players, reliever Keith Butler and shortstop Aledmys Diaz.

To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position, along with every transaction affecting the organization, 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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