After spending nearly a month with the club and appearing in just one game, righthander Chris Russ was transferred to Double-A Springfield on Thursday. The 28-year-old began the season on loan to Minatitlan of the Mexican League, but after a fallout with upper management, the club released him on June 15 after he posted a 4.03 ERA in 29 relief appearances. Shortly thereafter he joined Memphis, but was not activated for three weeks. In his lone appearance with the Redbirds, he allowed two runs on three hits in 2.1 innings, but did strike out two.
It was also announced on Thursday that catcher Matt Pagnozzi will be rejoining the club after being sent down to Springfield last Friday. The 24-year-old began the season with Springfield, but prior to being sent down last week, had been with Memphis since May 12, and was hitting .213 in 19 games for the Redbirds.
To replace Pagnozzi on the roster, Henry Guerrero has been promoted from Palm Beach for his second stint with the club. After beginning the season in extended spring training, Guerrero was transferred to Springfield on May 12. However, after going hitless in eight games with the club, he was sent down to Palm Beach where he was batting .115 in 10 games, serving as the backup to Brandon Yarbrough. He will now back up Bryan Anderson after the trade of Danilo Sanchez on Sunday.
In another move, the Cardinals released lefthander Kevin Ool. The 26-year-old had appeared in 21 games (eight starts), going 4-2 with a 5.08 ERA and opponents hitting .339 against him this season for Springfield. Ool was acquired by the Cardinals in the Mike Myers deal with the Boston Red Sox in March 2005.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals had to place two of their most highly touted prospects on the disabled list for High-A Palm Beach on Thursday: Jon Jay (arm/shoulder) and Allen Craig (back). In addition, catcher Chris Grossman and outfielder Luke Gorsett have been promoted from Low-A Quad Cities.
Jay has apparently reaggravated the shoulder injury that landed him on the Springfield disabled list for over a Month (May 19-June 24). He initially suffered the injury when sliding into third base in a game against Wichita on May 3rd. Jay was hitting .344 in 15 games for Palm Beach since being activated from the Springfield disabled list and sent down.
Craig has been one of the hottest hitters in the Cardinals' organization this season. He is currently hitting .320/.370/.541 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI. He was named the Cardinals' Player of the Month for June after batting .337 (33-for-98) with 19 runs, seven home runs and 24 RBI in 26 games.
Gorsett, 22, was batting .286 with 21 doubles in 77 games for the Swing. He was leading the team with seven outfield assists at the time of his promotion.
Grossman "was instrumental in helping the Swing pitching staff to the league's best ERA (3.06) and highest strikeout total (727)," according to the club's press release announcing these roster moves. In addition, the 26-year-old was hitting .277 with six homers and 42 RBIs.
To replace Grossman, Gorsett and Donovan Solano, who was promoted to Palm Beach on Tuesday, the Swing will receive three of the Cardinals' 2007 draft picks: third baseman Tony Cruz, catcher Nick Derba and outfielder Antone DeJesus.
Cruz is not wasting any time moving up the ladder, as he has made stops at all three of the Cardinals' short-season affiliates since being taken in the 26th round out of Palm Beach Community College. The 20-year-old began his pro career by hitting safely in all seven of his games in the Gulf Coast League, then homered twice in six games with Johnson City of the Appalachian League, and most recently added a four-hit game with Batavia before earning his third promotion of the year. Across the three previous stops, he was hitting .342 with eight doubles and 10 RBI.
Derba, 21, was the Cardinals' 30th round selection out of Manhattan College. In 19 games with Batavia, he hit .267 with seven doubles.
Despite an initial press release that stated that Daniel Descalso, the Cardinals' third round pick, would be joining the Swing, that player will instead be Antone DeJesus, the Cardinals' 16th round pick out of Kentucky. The 21-year-old was hitting .186 in 19 games for Batavia.
Jason Scott can be reached via email at email@example.com.