Mark Montgomery (Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals quickly added a free agent pitcher following Trevor Rosenthal’s injury.

The St. Louis Cardinals quickly added a free agent pitcher following Trevor Rosenthal’s injury, once-promising Yankees minor league right-hander Mark Montgomery. Brian Walton explains where he fits and why.

From Trevor Rosenthal’s injury, opportunity presents itself on multiple fronts.

First, Sam Tuivailala was returned to St. Louis from his assignment to Triple-A Memphis, to make his first MLB Opening Day roster.

It appears the Cardinals have acted to replace closer Tuivailala on the Redbirds roster with the signing of free agent pitcher Mark Montgomery to a minor league contract on Friday, first reported by Josh Norris of Baseball America. The 26-year-old was not available long, having been released earlier in the day by his only organization to date, the New York Yankees.

The Bombers’ 11th-round draft pick in 2011 advanced quickly, appearing in the Arizona Fall League in 2012 and reaching Triple-A the next season.  Montgomery was New York’s 23rd-ranked prospect after the 2011 season and moved up to 11th the following year, according to Baseball America’s team rankings.

Once thought of as the future Yankees relief ace featuring a slider that was almost unhittable at times, Montgomery’s promise was eventually sapped by injuries that eroded his velocity and command.

For the last four seasons, Montgomery has been shifted back and forth between Double-A and Triple-A, pitching pretty well, with high strikeouts but also control lapses, never receiving “the call”.

The 6-foot, 200-pounder has a solid 2.33 ERA over his seven professional seasons, with a whopping 376 strikeouts but also 125 free passes issued in 285 2/3 career innings. Hitters have managed only a collective .190 batting average against the right-hander.

I expect Montgomery to slip into the Memphis bullpen. With 58 career saves in 67 attempts, he could get a shot at the ninth inning for the Redbirds.

Further, look for additional minor league releases across the Cardinals system coming soon.

For more

To see the current camp assignments, full 2016 season-ending rosters by level and position and every transaction across the entire Cardinals system on one page, check out the Roster Matrix, always up-to-date and free at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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

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