Hearne, 25, is scheduled to make his debut start Sunday, April 6, 2008 in the third game of a series vs. Dorados de Chihuahua. Hearne is being loaned to Minatitlan for the season as part of a deal worked out between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Mexican League club.
As rosters were shuffled and settled after spring training broke, the Cardinals had more pitchers available and not enough spots on the rosters. So in order to keep a hold of Hearne without releasing him, they gave him the option to play ball in Mexico and get some innings under his belt and possibly a look for later this season or next depending on how well he performs in 2008.
Hearne was in spring camp trying to crack the Springfield roster. In his first nine spring innings, he allowed four earned runs on eight hits, including one home run. He fanned eight, but walked five.
For the 2007 season, outfielder Amaury Marti and right-handed pitcher Chris Russ were each loaned to Minatitlan and right-handed pitcher Fernando Salas was loaned to Saraperos de Saltillo. Marti tore up the league while Russ and Salas seemed to struggle at times.
Bob Zimmermann and Kris Honel were also given the option to spend the season in Mexico. Zimmermann passed and managed to make the Springfield roster after Matt Scherer headed to the disabled list. Kris Honel agreed to go but, he like Scherer also, landed on the disabled list before the season started. Honel is listed on the Palm Beach roster.
The Cardinals also returned shortstop Ivan Bellazetin to Minatitlan for the 2008 season. He had been invited to the Cardinals spring camp in early March. Bellazetin, 26, played with Amaury Marti last season in the Mexican League. Last season he hit .247 with nine doubles, two triples, 15 RBIs, and 34 strikeouts in 95 games.
No contract had been signed between the Cardinals and Bellazetin, who collected just four hits in his first 26 spring training at-bats along with one walk for a .154/.185/.154 batting line.
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