Cardinals Minor League News: Friday, 5/1

Player news from around the St. Louis Cardinals system includes the Peoria return of Dewin Perez.

On Thursday and Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced a series of transactions, reaching from St. Louis to Johnson City.

Cooney Arrives

St. Louis Cardinals selected the contract of Thursday’s starter Tim Cooney from the Memphis Redbirds. That included his addition to the club’s 25-man and 40-man rosters.

The left-hander, 24, became the second member of the Cardinals’ 2012 First-Year Player Draft class to reach the Majors when he replaced injured Adam Wainwright in St. Louis’ rotation. The Collegeville, Pennsylvania native was the third round (117th player overall) pick in 2012 from Wake Forest University.

Cooney is 2-1 with a 3.67 ERA (seven earned runs in 17 1/3 innings) for Memphis in 2015. His scheduled start on Monday was skipped in preparation for this promotion.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder won 14 games for the Redbirds in 2014 while posting a 3.47 ERA in 26 games (25 starts). He was the first Redbirds pitcher to lead the Pacific Coast League in wins since St. Louis moved its Triple-A affiliation to Memphis in 1998.

Stanley Returns to Redbirds

To make room for Cooney on the 25-man roster, St. Louis optioned Cody Stanley to Memphis. The backstop appeared in three games for the big club, all as a pinch hitter, making his Major League debut April 26th.

Stanley recorded his first big league hit during his first at-bat with St. Louis and finished his debut MLB stint 1-for-3.

Wainwright Paperwork Shuffled

With Adam Wainwright out for the season and having underwent surgery on Thursday, the Cardinals moved their ace to the 60-day disabled list. That move freed up a 40-man spot for Cooney.

Blair Bounced

In one of two releases from Cardinals extended spring training camp, the Cardinals cut their ties with 2010 first-round draft pick Seth Blair. The compensation round pick, now 26, was moved to the bullpen last season at Double-A Springfield and was given a brief trial at Triple-A Memphis, but could never find traction in either role.

The right-hander opened 2015 on Springfield’s disabled list while he continued to work in Florida. Blair finishes his Cardinals career with a 5.34 ERA to go with 252 strikeouts in 310 1/3 innings. His walk total of 184 stands out as an ongoing problem.

Silva Sent Home

In the other move from extended spring training, the Cardinals have released left-handed pitcher Isaac Silva. After two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the 22-year-old debuted in the US with Johnson City in 2014. There, he struggled to a 7.71 ERA in 14 appearances out of the bullpen. A major culprit was 18 free passes issued in 11 2/3 innings.

Alexander to MWL

The Cardinals are shifting Kevin Alexander from Palm Beach to Peoria of the Midwest League. The right-handed pitcher had joined the A-Advanced Cards from extended spring training on April 23rd. With Palm Beach, Alexander appeared in three games, 2 2/3 innings. He allowed just two hits and a walk, no runs and struck out a pair.

The 23-year-old spent most of 2014 with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals after being signed as a non-drafted free agent.

Melling Activated

Palm Beach has activated left-handed pitcher Tyler Melling from the seven-day disabled list. The 26-year-old will be making his first official appearance since 2013, out while recovering from March 2014 Tommy John surgery.

Baez Back to Pen (temporarily)

The Cardinal Nation’s 38th-ranked prospect, pitcher Fernando Baez, had been in the Peoria rotation the last two times through, but his use as a reliever on Wednesday suggested another change in role, perhaps.

The hard-throwing right-hander has 19 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, but has also issued a whopping 13 walks. Baez’ current ERA is 4.26.

Update

As it turns out, Baez apparently just pitched an inning instead of throwing a bullpen between starts as the right-hander has been named Peoria’s Sunday starting pitcher versus Burlington.

Perez Coming off DL

Peoria left-hander Dewin Perez, who has been on the seven-day disabled list since April 13 due a blister, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, as noted in the photo above. The 20-year-old will be activated to make the start for the Midwest League club on Friday.

The Colombian native has made just one appearance this season, an abbreviated three-inning outing on April 12.

Anderson on the Move

Peoria right-handed starting pitcher Will Anderson is being promoted to A-Advanced Palm Beach on Friday, reports the Peoria Journal Star. In his first three starts with the Chiefs, the 22-year-old has performed well, with a 2.35 ERA and 16 strikeouts against just two walks in 19 Midwest League innings.

At this point, it is unclear whose rotation spot Anderson will take. One possibility is Corey Littrell, who is 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA through three starts in his second partial year with Palm Beach.

Anderson’s next start for Peoria was scheduled for Saturday. His replacement in the Chiefs’ six-man rotation appears to be Perez.

Loraine Lost

The fortunes of right-handed reliever Zach Loraine have shifted dramatically. Struggling badly in 2015, the 2014 Midwest League All-Star was released by the Cardinals Thursday night, reports the Peoria Journal Star.

In 9 2/3 innings over eight outings this season, the 24-year-old was charged with 10 earned runs for a 9.31 ERA. MWL hitters batted .317 against Loraine.

Pedroza Taps Out

Rarely-used infielder Richy Pedroza asked for and was granted his release by the Cardinals after Thursday night’s Chiefs game, reports the Peoria Journal Star.

The 23-year-old opened 2015 on the disabled list, but was activated on April 22. Pedroza appeared in just three games this season, going 1-for-7. In 85 games with the Chiefs in 2014, the switch-hitter batted .239.

Pedroza was the Cardinals’ 17th-rounder in the 2013 draft from Cal State Fullerton.

My guess is that he will be replaced on the Peoria roster by outfielder Nick Thompson coming off the disabled list, but that is not confirmed at this time.

Friday Update: Garcia Progressing

Jaime Garcia threw a five-inning, 54-pitch simulated session on Thursday morning in Jupiter, Florida. The left-hander will pitch again on Tuesday in an extended spring training camp game as he tries to work his way back from a spring training setback, reports Brian Stull of St. Louis Baseball Weekly.

Friday Update: Gonzales’ Next Step

Due to a lat injury suffered on April 20th, left-hander Marco Gonzales missed his initial chance to step into St. Louis’ rotation for Adam Wainwright, but there is a plan to move ahead. Currently on Memphis’ disabled list, the 23-year-old should be cleared to play catch now with the intent to get him into a minor league game around May 10th. This news came from general manager John Mozeliak and reported by Stull.

Friday Update: Thompson Activated

As I predicted above, the replacement for released infielder Richy Pedroza on the active roster of the Peoria Chiefs is Nick Thompson. The outfielder went onto the disabled list of the Class-A club on April 22 due to an oblique injury.

In his Midwest League debut totaling 12 games to date, the 22-year-old has six RBI to go with a line of .282/.429/.333/.762. Thompson has seven walks to go with 11 strikeouts.

Friday Update: The “other” Reyes Moves Up

Though top prospect Alex Reyes has been with A-Advanced Palm Beach for the same length of time, one month, it is his less-heralded teammate, Arturo Reyes, who has been promoted to Double-A Springfield, while he will make his Texas League debut.

Arturo, 23, was the Cardinals’ 40th-round pick in the 2013 Draft from Gonzaga, where he pitched with Marco Gonzales. Last season, Reyes was a Midwest League All-Star. In three Florida State League starts in 2015, Reyes has a 2.45 ERA but also a 1.70 WHIP on 19 hits and six walks in 14 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out eight.

To balance out rosters, it appears that at least one more pitcher will be moving, from Springfield to Memphis.

Friday Update: Socolovich Joins Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Miguel Socolovich and added him to the Major League bullpen. The reliever has been the most dependable arm in manager Mike Shildt’s bullpen, with 12 2/3 scoreless innings over his first seven outings as a Redbird. The 28-year-old is holding PCL batters to a collective .122 average, including nine strikeouts. The Venezuelan native has issued more free passes, eight, than hits allowed, five.

A veteran of 10 professional seasons, Socolovich was signed by the Cardinals last November as a minor league free agent. His career has included stints with the Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles, Cubs, Mets and now Cardinals organizations. Socolovich’s prior MLB experience includes six outings each with the 2012 Orioles and Cubs, during which his ERA was 6.06.

Friday Update: Cooney is One and Out

After just one start for St. Louis, the Cardinals optioned pitcher Tim Cooney to Triple-A Memphis, his spot claimed by Socolovich. The left-handed Cooney made his Major League debut Thursday, filling the rotation spot of the injured Adam Wainwright. The 24-year-old tossed just 2 1/3 innings against the Phillies, allowing three runs on seven hits, while striking out three and walking one.

For the next turn, St. Louis could call on Cooney’s Memphis teammate Tyler Lyons or give long man Carlos Villanueva a spot start. As noted above, Marco Gonzales is expected to claim the rotation spot when healthy.

Friday Update: Pham’s Outage Extended

Out since the second week of spring training games, Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham will not be back until at least June, as he was moved onto the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster for Socolovich. The 27-year-old had suffered what was originally said to be a left quad injury drained and there appears no set timetable for his return.

Saturday Update: Hald Moves Up

As noted above, the Cardinals seemed likely to make at least one more move this weekend from Springfield to Memphis. It came on Saturday when left-handed pitcher Kyle Hald was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A.

In four Texas League starts this season, the 25-year-old had a 2.81 ERA and 11 strikeouts compared to five walks in 16 innings. Hald will likely be making his Pacific Coast League debut on Sunday, starting for Memphis at New Orleans.

Updates Coming

As more news across the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system is made available this weekend, it will be added here, so please remember to check back.



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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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