Valera is a native of the Dominican Republic and most recently is from New York, as is the 6'-5" Pol, who pitched for George Washington High School in 2003 and 2004. Both were signed as free agents in late July.
Also added were right-hander Jason Adams, an undrafted free agent from Navarro College in Texas and outfielder Malcolm Owens, who rejoined the team from extended spring training in Jupiter, Florida.
The 21-year-old Adams is a native of Sinton, Texas and recently completed his sophomore season for the Bulldogs. Owens had been recovering from a back injury after playing in Johnson City last summer. The Cardinals' 13th round draft pick in 2005 hit .215 and stole seven bases in 93 at-bats last season.
Not all the goings are positive, however. Reports are that centerfielder Jose Ramirez and left-handed starting pitcher Senger Peralta both underwent surgery in Florida last week, apparently due to arm-related injuries.
Pitching Coach Al Holland told one of our readers that Peralta's injury is the same as Josh Wilson's injury, a torn labrum. Prior to his injury, the 19-year-old Venezuelan had appeared in three games, allowing five runs in nine innings while holding opposing hitters to a .182 average.
Though unconfirmed, Ramirez' injury may be in his shoulder. The 21-year-old, also from Venezuela, had begun his season with the Cardinals' Venezuelan Summer League squad, with three hits in 12 at-bats, including a home run. Ramirez managed just 18 hitless at-bats with Johnson City before his injury.
However, there is good news out of Johnson City, as well. One of the first products from the Cardinals' Dominican pipeline, pitcher Elvis Hernandez, has been named the Appalachian League Pitcher of the Week for the period July 24 through July 30.
The 21-year-old right-hander allowed just two runs in 14 innings-pitched last week. Hernandez fanned 15 while walking only two. On the season, he has a 3.25 ERA in 44-1/3 innings-pitched.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Leonda Markee also contributed to this report.
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