Cards Cut Eight Minor Leaguers

Pitchers Mike Repole, Matt Hirsh, David Phillips and Matt Sauceda and position players C.J. Smith, Chad Gabriel, Malcolm Owens and Jose Salazar were released by the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday.

For the first time this spring, early this morning, on Tuesday, March 20, the St. Louis Cardinals dropped off dreaded notes in eight different minor leaguer's lockers that directed the recipient to come into the club offices before suiting up for the day's action.

The news would not be good. No matter how softly and sensitively it is delivered, being told your services are no longer required has to be a severe blow to strong and talented young men who have always been the best of the best from grade school to high school and in many cases, college.

Still, on this day, the discussions occurred, one by one. Four pitchers and four position players were released. They include right-handed pitchers Mike Repole, Matt Hirsh and David Phillips and lefty Matt Sauceda. The four position players include three outfielders, a crowded position in the system. They are C.J. Smith, Chad Gabriel and Malcolm Owens. The other player cut was infielder Jose Salazar.

In addition, outfielder Ryan Grooms, working out with Quad Cities on a tryout basis, was not signed. He has since left camp.

Look for new working rosters by minor league level to be posted hopefully tomorrow.

Michael Repole
The 22-year-old was taken by the Cardinals in the 14th round of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft. The right-hander played in the short-season New York-Penn League in both 2005 and 2006, where he posted a combined 5.49 ERA in 36 games, all in relief.

Matt Hirsh
The younger brother of Colorado Rockies pitcher Jason Hirsh was signed by the Cardinals last August after he was released by the Astros. The 22-year-old was originally signed by the Houston Astros in the 30th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft after his junior year at Cal Lutheran.

David Phillips
Philiips was selected in the 24th round of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft. The 21-year-old lefty posted a 5.02 ERA in 12 appearances out of the Rookie-level Johnson City bullpen that year, but missed the entire 2006 campaign due to injury.

Matt Sauceda
The 23-year-old was signed by the Cardinals as a non-drafted free agent in June, 2006 out of Texas Southern. Last season, the lefty appeared in 14 games for short-season Class A State College, going 1-0 with a 5.30 ERA in 18.2 innings.

C.J. Smith
Smith was a fifth-round draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2004. He was released from their organization on July 13, 2006 and signed with the Cards two weeks later. The 24-year-old is a career .220 hitter in 200 minor league games.

Chad Gabriel
Gabriel, 22 years of age, was selected in the 20th round of the June, 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Over the last three seasons, the outfielder moved up from Johnson City to New Jersey to Quad Cities. Gabriel is a career .283 hitter.

Malcolm Owens
Owens, also 22, was taken by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the June, 2005 First Year Player Draft. He hit .215 in 38 games with Johnson City in 2005, but only had eight at-bats in 2006 with the same club.

Jose Salazar
The 23-year-old infielder was signed as a non-drafted free agent last June out of Texas A&M University. Salazar hit .283/.360/.345 in 42 games for short-season Class A State College and also appeared in eight games with low Class A Quad Cities in August, hitting .250.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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