Backup catchers are having a rough early season of 2016 in the St. Louis Cardinals system. First, new St. Louis reserve, Brayan Pena, went down with a knee injury at the end of spring training, temporarily taking away a proven reserve for Yadier Molina.
That created an opening in the Majors for Eric Fryer, signed over the winter to provide depth at Memphis. When Fryer was brought up to St. Louis, he was replaced at Triple-A by veteran catcher Alberto Rosario.
Unfortunately, Rosario did not last seven innings in his 2016 Memphis debut, removed after two strikeouts and a sacrifice fly Saturday night. On Sunday, the 29-year-old was placed on the seven-day disabled list with an undisclosed injury.
Rosario’s replacement on the Triple-A roster is Luis Cruz, up from Double-A Springfield. In his lone game action in the Texas League, Cruz went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Michael Ohlman should be the regular for Memphis, with Cruz as a reserve.
To backfill Cruz, the Cardinals promoted Jesse Jenner to Springfield from Palm Beach. The 23-year-old, taken in the seventh round last June, has yet to make his full-season debut. Again, Jenner will play behind a top prospect. At Springfield that is Carson Kelly.
Rather that disrupt Class-A Peoria, the Cardinals promoted catcher Chris Rivera from extended spring training, which has the added advantage of also being located in Jupiter, Florida. Last season at Johnson City, the 21-year-old former infielder slashed .216/.283/.340/.623. Rivera will back up Steve Bean.
Peoria already had its own catching injury last week. Between when rosters were announced and Opening Day in the Midwest League, Chiefs backstop Chris Chinea suffered an oblique strain and was placed on the DL.
My guess is that as soon as either Pena or Rosario are well, these moves will be undone.
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