On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals added catcher Joshua Lopez to the roster at A-Advanced Palm Beach. It was not until Sunday, however, that the man he is replacing was named. It is catcher Steve Bean.
On Sunday, the club reassigned reliever Michael Heesch to extended spring training in nearby Jupiter, Florida. His replacement is Josh Wirsu, also from EST, making a battery of Joshes added this weekend.
After two seasons at Class-A Peoria, Bean was expected to be Palm Beach’s regular catcher this summer. The 22-year-old played in six games to date, with five singles in 17 at-bats and also drew four walks for a line of .294/.429/.294/.743. The left-handed hitter has two RBI and three runs scored to compensate for four strikeouts.
Lopez, a 20-year-old Venezuelan native, has yet to make his 2016 Florida State League debut. The right-handed hitter also filled in back in the 2014 season, appearing in one game for Palm Beach. Otherwise, Lopez has played the last two seasons in the Gulf Coast League. In 129 career games over his three seasons as a professional, Lopez’ line is just .198/.295/.294/.589.
Palm Beach’s other catcher, Chris Rivera, 21, also opened the season in EST before being called upon to join the Cardinals when Jesse Jenner was moved to Double-A Springfield as an injury fill-in on April 10. Rivera has started all three games since Bean went on the DL.
Heesch, 25, was a minor league Rule 5 selection by the Cardinals this past December from the Chicago Cubs. The left-hander’s Cardinals debuts were rocky, with eight runs allowed, six earned, in just 4 1/3 innings for Palm Beach over five games before his demotion. Heesch struck out five, but walked three and yielded a whopping 14 hits.
Wirsu, 22, was St. Louis’ 30th-round draft pick in 2014 from Georgia Southern. Last season, the right-hander made nine starts in the Gulf Coast League and three more with State College, along with a lone relief appearance with Peoria. His results last season included a 5.06 ERA to go with 34 strikeouts and 26 walks in 64 innings.
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