Two days ago, it was veteran swingman Kurt Heyer released by the St. Louis Cardinals off the Triple-A Memphis roster. On Thursday, it was a peer of Heyer’s, Thomas Lee who was let go by the organization.
Lee, a 27-year old Californian, was originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012 from Sonoma State University. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander first reached Memphis in 2015 and spent all of last season at Triple-A, including two months on the disabled list and a short rehab in the Gulf Coast League.
In his lone appearance this season, Lee was charged with four earned runs in just 2/3 of an inning on April 8. Overall, in 95 2/3 career innings at the Triple-A level, Lee has a 4.61 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 24 walks. Pacific Coast League batters hit a collective .315 against him.
In the corresponding transaction, reliever Mitch Harris was activated off the Redbirds’ disabled list after missing all of last season with a right elbow injury that required ligament repair (as opposed to replacement) surgery.
Harris, 31, who was removed from St. Louis’ 40-man roster during the off-season, pitched twice during spring training for St. Louis. The right-hander allowed six baserunners in just two innings and four of them scored. Harris fanned three. The non-roster invitee was then reassigned to minor league camp on March 18 and opened the season on Memphis’ seven-day DL.
The Cardinals have yet to name a player to take the roster spot of Daniel Poncedeleon at Double-A Springfield, but the releases of Lee and Heyer this week suggest the eventual replacement is not coming down from Memphis.
Aikin walks away
Peoria Chiefs outfielder Craig Aikin has decided to retire. The 23-year-old was not on the original Peoria roster to open the season, but was added at the last moment when Bryce Denton had appendicitis surgery.
Taken by St. Louis in the 12th round of the 2105 Draft from the University of Oklahoma, Aikin struggled to a 1-for-15 (.077) start with five strikeouts in his second season with the Chiefs. Overall, the left-handed hitter posted a slash line of .236/.322/.301/.623 in 529 at-bats over 170 games in the Cardinals system.
The Midwest League club has not yet been assigned a replacement outfielder.
Update – Nielsen activated
The Springfield club returned to full strength with the activation of Trey Nielsen off the seven-day disabled list. The right-hander was a non-roster invitee to St. Louis camp this spring, but pitched just two scoreless innings before leaving to join Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.
Upon his return, The Cardinal Nation’s 44th-ranked prospect was reassigned to minor league camp, where he apparently suffered a minor injury that led to him opening the season on the shelf. At this point, it is unclear whether the 25-year old will rejoin the high-powered Double-A rotation or pitch in relief.
For roster and player information
The team rosters here at The Cardinal Nation are as up-to-date for St. Louis and all four full-season clubs. All EST players remain on one of the short-season clubs based on where they ended 2016. To access these team rosters, click on the words “PROSPECTS” > “MiLB Rosters/Player Pages” underneath The Cardinal Nation site logo.
To see the Cardinals’ entire system by level and position on one page along with every player transaction for every club all year long, check out the newly-refreshed Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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