Cards Drop Two Dominican Pitchers

In further minor roster trimming news, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped from their ranks two minor leaguers from the Dominican Republic, Jose De La Rosa and Victor Moreno.

Victor Moreno (Carela), 24, joined the St. Louis Cardinals organization after playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization starting in 2002, when he was a member of their Dominican Summer League squad. After spending additional time in the Arizona (Rookie) League, the right-hander was dropped by the Angels in the spring of 2005.

With the Cards in 2006 Minor League Spring Training, Moreno did not impress, allowing ten runs in 8 2/3 innings. However, he fared much better in Extended Spring Training, where he struck out 26 in 21 1/3 innings and posted a tidy 2.21 ERA.

Moreno went from Extendeds to the Swing of Quad Cities, where he posted a 3.96 ERA in 16 appearances, including six starts for the Midwest League club. He struggled mightily as a starter (7.65 ERA), but was unscored upon in relief. Overall, Moreno fanned 33 and walked just ten in 38 1/3 innings pitched.

With the up and down performance, Moreno simply became a numbers victim in 2007. Cardinals Director of Minor League Operations John Vuch explains. "At 24 years old, Moreno would need to pitch at Palm Beach in 2007. After conversations with our pitching coaches, the consensus was that there were too many other pitchers ahead of him for him to have a realistic chance of making that club," Vuch said.

Vuch explains why they decided to let Moreno go now. "With all the guys from the '06 draft moving up to Quad Cities, it was likely that he'd end up getting squeezed out of the picture this spring anyway. So the decision was made to let him go in order to have a better chance of hooking on with another club prior to spring training rather than having to scramble to find a spot in late March."

Jose De La Rosa originally signed with the Seattle Mariners in September, 2003 and joined the Cardinals 12 months later. The right-handed pitcher turns 21 in February.

He entered fifteen games at Johnson City in 2005, but it did not go well, to the tune of an 8.20 ERA and 1.82 WHIP. Apparently, that big first step into the Appalachian League was viewed by the organization to have been too great for the youngster.

De La Rosa did not return to America for Extended Spring Training in 2006. So, instead of being assigned to the Johnson City roster, he was sent to the Dominican Summer League.

De La Rosa missed about three weeks in late July and early August, apparently due to injury. Overall, he posted a 1-5 record with a 3.51 ERA. De La Rosa fanned 46 in 48-2/3 innings and walked 17, working as both a starter and a reliever.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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