1. Blake Hawksworth – Hawksworth remains in extended spring training and has not appeared in a game since April 15 of last season.
Rated by Baseball America as the Cardinals' No. 3 prospect, the 22-year-old righthander had surgery last July to improve blood flow to his shoulder after micro-fractures were discovered in his clavicle.
There is no set timetable for Hawksworth but he is expected to pitch for Palm Beach at some point this season.
"Right now, he's coming along slowly," Mark Riggins, the Cardinals minor league pitching coordinator, told Gameday Magazine. "He's got to get over that hump of having a little soreness in there."
Hawksworth is optimistic that he will come back strong.
"(Chris) Carpenter had (similar surgery) and he had a huge season last year," Hawksworth told the magazine. "(Curt) Schilling had it before he went to Arizona and came back throwing harder. The toughest part of the whole thing is mentally. I'm so competitive. I hate to watch and not pitch.
"But I'll be ready when I'm ready. It's more of a marathon. When the time comes, I have every confidence I'll move up."
2. Reid Gorecki – Gorecki was going to be the face of the new Springfield Cardinals baseball club. The 24-year-old outfielder has done nothing this season to earn that distinction. Instead, he has batted .175/.255/.285 and has been dropped to the bottom of the batting order after beginning the season as Springfield's No. 2 hitter.
3. Donnie Smith – Smith, like Hawksworth, has also been kept in extended spring training due to arm troubles.
The 22-year-old righthander was the Cardinals 4th round draft pick last season out of Old Dominion where he pitched alongside Justin Verlander (the No. 2 overall pick by Detroit last year). Last season at New Jersey he had a 3.88 ERA and a 41/5 K/BB ratio in 46 innings pitched.
4. Brandon Yarbrough – The Cardinals top catching prospect has gotten off to a rough start this season batting only .154/.230/.295 and losing the starting job to Brady Toops. The highlight of the season for the 20-year-old came on April 19 when he hit for the cycle. Last season at Johnson City, Yarbrough hit .326 and his .867 OPS ranked 6th among Cardinal minor leaguers.
5. Mike Ferris – The Cardinal's second round pick last June has gotten off to another slow start this season. He is batting only .194/.253/.417, but has shown signs of life lately, homering in five of his last eight games, giving him 8 overall for the season. Ferris hit only .199 with 3 homers in 40 games last season for New Jersey after being regarded as one of the top power hitters in the 2004 draft.
News and notes • Josh Kinney finally got a promotion to Triple-A Memphis on Monday after dominating Texas League hitters for nearly two months.
The 26-year-old righthander went 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA and had racked up 10 saves for Springfield.
"I'm anxious, to tell you the truth," Kinney told the Springfield News-Leader. "I want to see what I can do there."
Kinney was not the only addition to the Memphis roster. The Cardinals also acquired 30-year-old righthander Vladimir Nunez from the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later.
Nunez has spent 7 seasons in the major leagues, with his best season coming in 2001 for the Florida Marlins when he posted a 2.74 ERA in 92 innings. In 2002, also with Florida, he saved 20 games and posted a 3.41 ERA, but he just hasn't been the same since then, and has spent the better part of the last two seasons in the minor leagues.
These two roster moves came after the Cardinals released righthander Shawn Sedlacek and sent Evan Rust down to Springfield.
Sedlacek, acquired in April by the Cardinals from Colorado for future considerations, had an ERA of 10.80 in 15 innings. The 27-year-old Rust, who was acquired in the Tino Martinez trade prior to last season, had a 5.40 ERA in 16-2/3 innings.
• Stuart Pomeranz, the Cardinals No. 5 prospect according to Baseball America, was promoted to Double-A Springfield on Sunday and made his first start for the club on Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old righthander gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits in 4 innings. He struck out 6 and walked 2 while giving up 2 home runs.
Pomeranz was 2-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 48-1/3 innings for Palm Beach. Bruce Manno, the Cardinals farm director, said that they seriously considered calling up Chris Lambert instead.
"There was a lot of discussion but, at the end of the day, we felt Pomeranz was a little more consistent in his outings in terms of throwing strikes," Manno told the Springfield News-Leader. "I don't know if, one way or the other, it really mattered. I think the (direction) we take with this step, the better we see how (Pomeranz) makes progress as the season goes along."
Lambert, 22, was the Cardinals first round draft pick (19th overall) last June and is currently 7-1 with a 3.02 ERA for Palm Beach with a 42/15 K/BB ratio in 47-2/3 innings.
To make room for Pomeranz on the Springfield roster, the Cardinals sent lefthander Buddy Blair down to Palm Beach.
Blair, 24, was 1-6 with an 8.50 ERA in 36 innings for Springfield.
• According to the Palm Beach Cardinals official web site, shortstop Brendan Ryan had been dealing with a strained left quadricep for a while, but he wasn't placed on the disabled list until he re-aggravated the injury reaching for a ball in the second inning of a game on May 16.
There is no definite timetable for Ryan's return.
"I'm going to get some at-bats down at extended (spring training) and I'll let them know when I'm good to go, and hopefully pick up where I left off," Ryan told the website.
• Mike Hobson, one of the Birdhouse forum moderators, reports that the Cardinals have released outfielder Sal Frisella.
Frisella, 24, was suspended on April 4 for violating Major League Baseball's Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. He claimed that it was ephedra that he tested positive for and that it was in a weight loss supplement he was using while recovering from a broken leg.
Jason Scott can be reached via email at email@example.com.