The St. Louis Cardinals dropped their participation in big league camp from 57 down to 52 players with Saturday’s announcement of their first cuts of the spring. The five sent to minor league camp are catchers Michael Ohlman, Alberto Rosario and Steve Bean along with pitchers Mike Mayers and John Gast.
Ohlman is the only 40-man roster player among the five, officially optioned to the minor leagues. That reduces the 40-man group’s population in Major League camp from 39 to 38. The other four were non-roster invitees, cutting that segment of competitors down from 18 to 14.
Ohlman, whose rights were purchased from Baltimore earlier this spring, appeared in two games. The 24-year-old made four plate appearances, with a double and a walk. I forecast him to open the season at Double-A Springfield.
Rosario, 28, was signed as a minor league free agent during the off-season. The right-handed hitter singled in his only plate appearance, which was as a pinch hitter. He appeared in one other game as a defensive replacement. Known for his defense, Rosario should be in the mix to join Ohlman at Springfield.
Bean, 21, worked alongside fellow catching prospect Carson Kelly last season at Peoria and could do the same thing at Palm Beach in 2015. In big-league camp, the supplemental first-rounder from the 2012 draft had four at-bats in three games and fanned three times.
Mayers, the Cardinals’ third-round pick in 2013, was given his first spring camp invitation. The 23-year-old pitched in relief for a total of 4 1/3 innings over three games. He yielded two earned runs on seven hits and two walks and fanned three. Opponents batted a collective .389 against him. Mayers may be ready for the Memphis rotation, but sheer numbers could force him to return to Springfield initially.
Lefty Gast is trying to work his way back from shoulder issues the last two seasons. In camp, the 24-year-old was touched for four runs in 1 1/3 innings over two games. Gast allowed four hits and a walk and threw a wild pitch. He struck out two, but opponents batted .444 against him. It will be interesting to see if the organization makes room for Gast in a potentially crowded Memphis’ rotation or tries him in relief, instead.
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