Birds on the Mend – July 18, 2007

Updates on the progress of a dozen injured St. Louis Cardinals prospects - six pitchers and six position players. It is bad news for Springfield shortstop Tyler Greene.

Shortstop Tyler Greene (Springfield) – Bad news. On July 8, during his first at-bat following a stint on the disabled list, Greene felt his right kneecap slip again. The 23-year-old, one of the Cards' 2005 first-round picks, first went onto the DL on June 16 due to the problem.

The decision is that knee surgery will be required. The date has not yet been set, but one has to figure that Greene's 2007 season may be over.

Outfielder Cody Haerther (Springfield) – Our 12th ranked Cardinals prospect last winter must feel snake bit after suffering a bone bruise in his hand during the first exhibition game of his initial Major League camp after having been added to the 40-man roster over the winter.

Since then, the Cards' sixth-rounder from 2003 has been sidelined all but ten regular-season games as he went onto the DL for a second time on May 29. This time, the 24-year-old required surgery on the hamate bone in his right hand.

Very good news here, as last week Haerther began taking batting practice. Now it has progressed to aggressive BP. With an open roster spot in Springfield, Cody could be activated very soon.

Outfielder Reid Gorecki (Springfield) – After requiring surgery on the hamate bone in his left hand and going onto the disabled list on April 24, Gorecki is finally showing measurable progress. Originally expected to be out six weeks, we are at double that time now.

The positive news is that Gorecki is now taking swings in the cage and is said to be regaining his strength.

The former Player of the Year (2004) was removed from the 40-man roster following the 2006 season.

Infielder Allen Craig (Palm Beach) – The Cards' eighth-round pick from last year's draft has been one of the most pleasant surprises in the system here in 2007 before going onto the disabled list on July 12 due to a lower back strain.

Current status is that the third baseman/first baseman is progressing back into baseball activities and specifically will begin hitting and throwing soon. Craig, whose 23rd birthday is today, July 18, is not expected to be ready to be activated until the end of the month.

Outfielder Jon Jay (Palm Beach) – The organization's second-round pick from 2006 went onto Springfield's disabled list on May 19 due to a shoulder injury. He was activated on June 24 and transferred to Palm Beach. He reaggravated his shoulder after playing 15 games for the Cards of the Florida State League.

Jay had been cleared to resume hitting and has been doing so. Most likely, the 22-year-old will be slipping into Palm Beach's lineup as the designated hitter in the next day or two.

Outfielder Shane Robinson (Palm Beach) – The 22-year-old suffered a broken foot and was placed on the disabled list on June 18. The original prognosis was six weeks, but it looks like it will be longer before we see the Cards' fifth-rounder from the 2006 draft back in regular games.

The word is that Robinson is not close to coming back and specificially is still probably at least a month away from resuming play. He is said to be just getting started on the initial rehabilitation phase.

Right-handed starting pitcher Mark McCormick (Palm Beach) – The Cards' supplemental first round pick (43rd overall) in the 2005 draft is said to be progressing well in his throwing program.

The organization's 11th-best prospect before the season, McCormick struggled with shoulder problems most of last season before going under the knife. Not long ago, the right-hander was regarded as having the best arm in the system with a mid-to-high-90s fastball.

While the organization continues to move deliberately with McCormick's recovery, he is scheduled to again throw off the mound on Thursday. He is currently up to 75% intensity, but has not yet begun to throw to live hitters yet.

Right-handed starting pitcher Stuart Pomeranz (Springfield) – The 22-year-old right-hander was taken out of action in Spring Training due to a stiff shoulder, and tossed just one official inning in Extended Spring Training before being sidelined again.

The Cardinals' 2003 second-round draft pick was initially projected to be ready to join Springfield in early May but instead required arthroscopic surgery. Our number seven prospect in the Cardinals system prior to the season remains on Springfield's disabled list.

Pomeranz is throwing again and continues on his program. He was scheduled to long-toss and throw at 75% again today, July 18.

Right-handed reliever Dennis Dove (Memphis) – Shortly after making his Major League debut on April 30, Dove returned to Memphis until he was sidelined due to shoulder tendinitis for two weeks in May. After returning, the 25-year-old last pitched in game action on June 4 before heading back onto the disabled list on June 13.

There is no new news as Dove, our 33rd-ranked organizational prospect, is continuing his shoulder strengthening program. No return date has been targeted, but it doesn't look to be any time soon.

Right-handed reliever Mike Sillman (Memphis) – Like Dove, Sillman went onto the disabled list for the second time this season with a shoulder problem on May 27. The former 21st round pick from 2004 had previously missed almost three weeks from late April until mid-May.

Sillman seems closer to returning than Dove. Our 34th ranked Cardinals prospect continues his throwing program. Sillman is currently long tossing and has been allowed to throw 20-pitch batting practice sessions.

Right-handed starter Josh Wilson (Batavia) – The Cardinals' second round pick in 2005 did not pitch in spring training and only a few innings in extended spring training before landing on the disabled list. His shoulder, with a surgically-repaired labrum in 2006, flared up again, leading to a cortisone injection.

The 20-year-old then returned to action for Batavia for just three games before suffering another setback on June 28. Wilson traveled to St. Louis where he was scheduled to undergo arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday, July 18.

Right-handed starter David Kopp (Batavia) – Kopp, the Cards' second-round pick from the 2007 draft, was sidelined shortly after reporting due to an ankle injury. He pitched in just one game, on June 27, before heading to the disabled list.

The 21-year-old returned to action last night, Tuesday, July 17. More important than his results on the field is the report from the next day. The good news is that Kopp experienced no problems with the ankle during or after his two-inning outing.



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

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