Brian Walton / The Cardinal Nation

The St. Louis Cardinals dropped their roster down to 34 players with six cuts announced following Sunday’s game

The St. Louis Cardinals dropped their roster down to 34 players with six cuts announced following Sunday’s game.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced following Sunday’s game that they have optioned pitchers Tim CooneyDean Kiekhefer, Miguel Socolovich and Sam Tuivailala and catcher Michael Ohlman to Memphis (AAA) and re-assigned first baseman/outfielder David Washington to minor league camp.

Today’s roster moves leaves 34 players in Major League camp, including five non-roster invitees.

The Cardinals spring roster currently has 16 pitchers (1 non-roster); 3 catchers (1 non-roster); 9 infielders (1 non-roster) and 6 outfielders (2 non-roster).

Brian Walton’s take

Now that Cooney has proven his health via a scoreless inning on Saturday, The Cardinal Nation's number five prospect can build up his innings in minor league camp. However, having just two appearances all spring long and just four days of minor league games remaining could indicate a need for the lefty to open the season on Memphis’ disabled list – or perhaps in the Redbirds’ pen.

When up to full speed again, Cooney is expected to compete with fellow lefty Marco Gonzales to be the next starting pitcher called up to St. Louis.

Tuivailala, TCN's 11th-ranked prospect, pitched the sixth inning against Miami on Sunday, yielding two runs and taking the loss. In his defense, the ball that scored both runs shot between the center and right fielders and looked catchable for Stephen Piscotty in right.

Tuivailala’s spring ERA increased to 4.26. Memphis’ 2015 closer struck out eight in 6 1/3 innings this spring but allowed too many baserunners with a WHIP over 2.00. The right-hander should be back with St. Louis at some point during the upcoming season.

Kiekhefer had a nice spring in limited action, but short of an injury to Tyler Lyons or Kevin Siegrist, seemed locked out of a left-handed bullpen spot. Still, he should make his MLB debut at some point in 2016. This spring, the 26 year-old did not allow a run over six appearances, 5 1/3 innings. Kiekhefer fanned four.

Socolovich seemed to have the best chance of perhaps making the team if Jordan Walden is not able to go. His being optioned out may suggest that Rule 5 addition Matt Bowman will make the team. This spring, Socolovich posted a 2.57 ERA in camp, giving up two runs over seven innings. He struck out six and picked up one save. With the most MLB experience of the group, the 29 year-old will almost certainly get another call to return to St. Louis.

Ohlman, The Cardinal Nation’s 30th-ranked prospect, last appeared Saturday and struck out as a pinch-hitter. The 25 year-old had four hits in 12 at-bats (.333) with an RBI. Ohlman should share the Memphis catching duties with veteran free agent signee Eric Fryer.

Washington was a pinch runner on Sunday, and finished his first spring in MLB camp with a .292 batting average (7-for-24) with a stolen base, an RBI and four runs scored. He should rotate among the corner outfield positions, first base and designated hitter in his Memphis debut in 2016. He is the only non-40-man roster player among the six Sunday cuts.

Special for The Cardinal Nation members: Predicting the 2016 Memphis opening roster

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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