Veteran play-by-play announcer Dave Armstrong will call the action with former Major League All-Star Andy Benes, who pitched for the Cardinals from 1996-1997 and 2000-2002. KYTV Springfield Sports Director Ned Reynolds will report from throughout Hammons Field.
Springfield started the season with very few exciting prospects, but because of promotions and free agent signings, they might now be the most exciting team to watch in the system. Here are the players that you should keep an eye on.
Stuart Pomeranz – The 6-foot-7 righthander is lined up to be the starting pitcher for the Cardinals on Thursday night.
Pomeranz, 20, is off to a rough start since joining Springfield in late May. In 10 Double-A starts, he is 1-4 with a 6.70 ERA, allowing 65 hits while walking 21 in 49-2/3 innings. He has struck out 35. Despite a 2-5 record in eight starts at Palm Beach, Pomeranz posted a 3.35 ERA in 48-1/3 innings, striking out 29 and walking 10 to receive the promotion.
Drafted in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft, Pomeranz is still one of the Cardinals top prospects. He features an 88-92 mph fastball, a knuckle-curve and an average changeup.
Brendan Ryan – Ryan is the most recent of top Cardinals prospects to join Springfield this season, having been promoted on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old shortstop was batting .303/.355/.410 with 17 doubles and 16 RBIs for High-A Palm Beach, but was limited to only 49 games because of a strained left hamstring that put him on the disabled list for nearly a month. He made 17 errors, and had stolen eight bases in nine attempts.
Baseball America, who rated Ryan as the Cardinals No. 7 prospect, calls him "the best all-around athlete in the system."
Cody Haerther – Haerther hit .318/.380/.584 with eight home runs and 30 RBIs in 173 at-bats for Palm Beach to earn a promotion to Springfield on May 31. He has gotten off to somewhat of a slow start at Springfield, due in part to the fact that he hyper-extended his left knee in June, hitting .256/.282/.415 with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Drafted in the 6th round by the Cardinals in 2002, Haerther was rated as the 9th best prospect in the organization by Baseball America. The 21-year-old outfielder has worked with Mike Hobson to do a weekly question-and-answer column here at the Birdhouse.
Travis Hanson – Hanson missed most of last season after breaking his ankle on June 3, but has been very good in his first season of Double-A ball. He has struck out 69 times, but in 361 at-bats is batting .274/.345/.443 with 19 doubles, 12 home runs and 57 RBIs.
Baseball America rated the 24-year-old third baseman as the 18th best prospect in the organization and called him the "best defensive infielder in the system."
Shaun Boyd – Drafted in the first round by the Cardinals in 2000 as a second baseman and given a signing bonus of $1,750,000, Boyd has yet to live up to expectations and has since changed positions. Now a centerfielder, he still owns all the tools that made him a first round pick and is only 23, so there is hope.
Batting mostly leadoff this season, Boyd has scored 41 runs and is batting .271/.332/.322 with 11 doubles and 31 RBIs. He has stolen eight bases and been caught five times.
Aaron Herr – The son of former Cardinal Tommy Herr, Aaron was picked up by the Cardinals on April 27 after he asked for his release from the Seattle Mariners, who had taken him from Atlanta in the Triple-A portion of the Rule-5 Draft in December. The 24-year-old second baseman was originally selected by the Braves in the supplemental first round of the 2000 draft.
Herr is batting .294/.326/.479 with 12 home runs and 48 RBIs, but has only drawn nine walks in 265 at-bats for Springfield.
Cory Doyne – Doyne, who began the season at low Class A Quad Cities, had already made it to Springfield by the beginning of May after a brief stint at Palm Beach and is now closing games for the Cardinals new Double-A affiliate.
He allowed no runs in 11-1/3 innings, striking out 16 and walking only two for Quad Cities and Palm Beach combined earlier this season. Since joining Springfield, he has a 1.98 ERA in 30 appearances. His biggest problem has been control. He has walked 25, struck out 36 and allowed 23 hits in 36-1/3 innings.
Doyne was signed by the Cardinals last season after he was released by the Padres because of a problem that he had with the coaching staff. He was originally drafted in the 8th round by the Astros in 2000, but they released him in 2003. The 23-year-old has a low-to-mid 90s fastball.
Tyler Minges – At age 26, Minges might not be considered much of a prospect, but he has been one of the best hitters in the Texas League this season. In 343 at-bats, he is hitting .309/.374/.551 with 25 doubles, 16 home runs and 53 RBIs.
Minges was signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in the offseason after spending seven seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization.
Matt Pagnozzi – Pagnozzi hit only .192 in 156 at-bats as the backup catcher at Palm Beach this season, but because of his defense he was promoted to Springfield last week. He is a nephew of former Cardinals' catcher Tom Pagnozzi.
News and Notes
• Anthony Reyes was dominant in his third start since coming off the disabled list on Saturday. On a pitch count of 90, Reyes needed only 79 pitches to pitch six shutout innings against the New Orleans Zephyrs. He allowed only four hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Picking up the win, Reyes improved to 7-3 on the season with a 3.08 ERA in 84-2/3 innings. He has struck out 83 and walked only 18.
• Evan Rust could miss the remainder of the season, according to an article that appeared in the Springfield News-Leader on Saturday.
Already having learned a couple weeks ago that he has a slight tear in a tendon, Rust became more worried as he drove his girlfriend to the movies on Thursday night.
"I put my arm on top of the steering wheel," Rust told the News-Leader, "and felt a little twinge."
He was scheduled to meet with the organization's medical staff on Monday.
"I want to see someone as soon as possible," Rust said from his home in Orlando, Fla. "I've done the research, and I know if I had surgery I would be out about six months. I want to get it done (quickly) so I can be ready for spring training."
Rust, who has been on the disabled list since June 29, started the season at Triple-A Memphis, but was sent down to Springfield in May after going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 13 appearances. He was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and four saves in 17 appearances for Springfield.
• Reid Gorecki, who had been on the Palm Beach Cardinals disabled list since June 25 with a stress fracture in his left foot, was activated on Monday.
It has been a very disappointing season for Gorecki. Rated as the Cardinals' No. 11 prospect by Baseball America, he started the season as the starting centerfielder for Springfield, but after hitting only .182 he was sent down to Palm Beach at the end of May.
The 24-year-old went 2-4 with two RBIs in his return on Monday night, but is still only hitting .208 in 72 at-bats for Palm Beach.
• Mark Michael was activated from the Palm Beach Cardinals disabled list on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old righthander had been on the DL since May 26 with shoulder tendonitis. The Cardinals want him to work his way back in to the starting rotation by pitching out of the bullpen for a while. He made his first appearance on Wednesday night, striking out one in a perfect inning and topping out at 95 mph with his fastball. He is scheduled to throw out of the bullpen again on Friday and it's possible that he could make a start on Sunday.
Michael has a 4.09 ERA and a 33/23 K/BB ratio in 44 innings this season.
• Blake Hawksworth made his third rehab start for New Jersey on Saturday. Despite pitching three solid innings, Hawksworth picked up the loss, his first since 2003 and his first decision of the season. He allowed three hits, walked one, and struck out four.
Hawksworth has a 1.29 ERA in seven innings since being activated on July 1. He has allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, walked five, and struck out six.
He is scheduled to start again on Thursday. The Cardinals are working on getting Hawksworth and Michael on the same schedule so they can make a couple of platoon starts together at Palm Beach.
• Mark McCormick became the fourth player drafted by the Cardinals in this year's draft to make it to low Class A when he was promoted to Quad Cities on Tuesday. He is scheduled to make his first start for the Swing on Thursday.
The 21-year-old righthander was promoted after just two starts for New Jersey, in which he allowed only one hit, walked three and struck out 10 in six innings. He reportedly hit 97 mph in his first start.
• Draft Pick Updates: It appears that righthander Daniel McCutchen, the Cardinals 12th round draft pick, will return to the University of Oklahoma for his senior year. He is playing in the Cape Cod League this summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.
Even though it was reported in a press release by the Cardinals that he was signed, 21st round pick Ryan Rohlinger will also likely return to Oklahoma for his senior year. Mike Hobson, of the Birdhouse, says that he has received word that contract talks have broken down between the two parties.
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