Cardinals Minor League Shuffle – May 4

On Sunday, the Cardinals system saw a flurry of pitching moves up and down their rosters that affected clubs from St. Louis all the way down to extended spring training. Among them, Mike Parisi will be making his MLB debut.

In a long and busy Sunday, May 4, the St. Louis Cardinals made a flurry of roster moves that have affected their system from the top all the way down to their extended spring training rosters. One pitcher was optioned out, one hit the disabled list, seven were bumped up one level in the farm system, one was activated from the disabled list and another took a trip in reverse to extended spring training.

St. Louis – Memphis

Starting off the day and article was an expected move of the Cardinals dropping right-handed starting pitcher/reliever Anthony Reyes to Triple-A Memphis.

Reyes, 27, a 15th round (455th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2003 amateur draft, is looking at seeing his fifth stint in the minors. Reyes has been struggling ever since the 2006 World Series where he was a viable and strong starter for the Cardinals throughout the playoffs en route to the franchises tenth World Series win.

Last season, Reyes started 20 of his 22 games and was booted to the bullpen mid-season as he was getting hit hard during his appearances. His 2007 season ended with a major league ERA a little over six. This season opened with a starter competition between Reyes, Brad Thompson, and Todd Wellemeyer for the final two spots in the rotation. Anthony ended up losing out to both and barely cracked the 25-man roster as newly appointed GM John Mozeliak made a push to keep him around in a relief capacity.

Reyes has made nine relief appearances posting a 1-1 record with a 5.27 ERA, allowing 16 hits, eight runs (all earned), two home runs, three walks, and striking out 10 over 13.2 innings. He still continues to show he can not pitch under the La Russa and Duncan regime but has also demonstrated he can be a strong arm in the farm system. There are unofficial rumors swirling that the Cardinals are in talks with one or various other clubs on trading the struggling pitcher.

In response to Anthony Reyes heading to Memphis, the Cardinals have called up their ninth round (270th overall) pick out of the 2004 amateur draft in right-handed starter Mike Parisi.

Parisi, 25, is looking at his first chance to make a big impression in the majors. He is beginning his fifth professional season in the Cardinals farm system. Over the first four, he posted a 32-35 record with a 4.33 ERA. This earned him a spot on the 40-man roster in November 2007 and an invitation to the St. Louis Cardinals 2008 spring training camp in Florida. There he caught the attention of Cardinals officials along with pitching coach Dave Duncan in just two appearances.

Yet Parisi did not crack the 25-man roster and instead became the opening day starter for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Since he has since posted a 2-1 record with a 4.41 ERA allowing 37 hits, 16 runs (all earned), two home runs, 13 walks, and striking out 23 over 32.2 innings in six starts. We can hopefully soon say that the 2004 draft was not all a loss.

Parisi was in St. Louis Sunday night to back up Todd Wellemeyer just in case he couldn't handle the innings but Mike did not make an appearance. He also may start Monday night vs. the Colorado Rockies as right-handed starting pitcher Joel Pineiro is once again having shoulder stiffness issues, much like he did at the beginning of the season. Nothing is set in stone yet, just a possibility.

Memphis – Springfield

With Parisi heading to St. Louis, a spot in the Memphis Redbirds rotation opened up for right-handed starting pitcher P.J. Walters.

Walters, 23, was the 11th round (346th overall) pick by the Cardinals from the 2006 amateur draft and has quickly risen up through the farm system. The number 10th ranked prospect in The Birdhouse top 40 Cardinals prospect countdown was also an invite to the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals spring training.

Like Parisi, Walters could not crack the roster and was assigned to the Double-A Springfield Cardinals to start of the season, the same place he ended his second professional season last year. In his first six starts for Springfield, P.J. posted a 1-2 record and 3.25 ERA allowing 35 hits, 17 runs (13 earned), five home runs, eight walks, and striking out 34 over 36 innings. Walters made his start for the Memphis Redbirds Sunday May 4th vs. Colorado Springs and went five innings, allowing seven hits, two runs (both solo home runs), one walk, and striking out 4.

In other moves with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, right-handed reliever Matt Scherer has been once again placed on the 7-day disabled list. In response to this move, the Redbirds called up left-handed starter Jaime Garcia.

Scherer, 25, began the 2008 season on the Springfield Cardinals disabled list with tightness and stiffness in his shoulder and was later activated April 12th. On April 26th, Scherer got the call to head to Memphis in response to Cliff Politte heading to the 7-day disabled list. Between Springfield and Memphis, he has made seven relief appearances posting a 1.08 ERA and allowing six hits, one run (home run), one walk, and struck out seven over 8.1 innings. No word yet has been released on the nature of Scherer's latest injury.

Garcia, 21, was a 22nd round (680th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2005 amateur draft. He is beginning his fourth season in the Cards farm system. The left-hander ended last season on a low note as he landed on the disabled list, but did receive an invite to the 2008 Cardinals spring training camp.

Garcia impressed scouts there, but farm director Jeff Luhnow chose to have him start his season out at Double-A Springfield to knock some rust off that might have been left over from his injury. Garcia, the number three ranked prospect in The Birdhouse countdown, has posted a 3-2 record with a 2.06 ERA allowing 26 hits, 10 runs (8 earned), 16 walks, and striking out 41 over 35 innings.

Springfield – Palm Beach

As Garcia and Walters head east to Memphis, right-handed starting pitchers Tyler Herron and Jess Todd have been called up to Springfield from Palm Beach.

Herron, 21, was a first round (46th overall) pick by the Cardinals out of Wellington (FL) High School during the 2005 amateur draft. Herron is beginning his fourth season under the Cardinal umbrella. Herron, the number six ranked prospect in The Birdhouse countdown, received a late invite to the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp but was later assigned to Single-A+ Palm Beach.

Herron has been a solid starter for Palm Beach in the piggyback system, and assisted them in their run to the top of the Florida State League. While with Palm Beach, Herron made seven appearances (four starts) allowing 25 hits, 10 runs (nine earned), two home runs, two walks, and striking out an impressive 24 over 27 innings. He made his Springfield debut Sunday May 4th, lasting only 3.2 innings and allowing five hits, three earned runs, one home run, one walk, and striking out four.

Todd, 22, was a second round (82nd overall) pick by the Cardinals out of the University of Arkansas in the 2007 amateur draft. Like Walters, Todd is and up and coming starter for the organization. Last season, in his professional debut home with short season Batavia, he posted a 4-1 record and 2.78 ERA while striking out 69 over 58.1 innings in 16 appearances (seven starts).

After his impressive start, he was hopped over Quad Cities to Palm Beach in 2008 and now gets an opportunity to make a splash at Springfield. The Birdhouse's 2007 Batavia Pitcher of the Year has posted a 3-0 record and 1.65 ERA only allowing 18 hits, seven runs (five earned), seven walks, and striking out 35 over 27.1 innings in seven appearances (four starts). Todd has been a dominant force the Palm Beach Cardinals as they sit atop the Florida State League and we hope he continues with Springfield.

Palm Beach – Quad Cities

With Todd and Herron heading north, Palm Beach has activated right-handed starting pitcher Elvis Hernandez and received right-handed starting pitcher Shaun Garceau from the Quad Cities River Bandits.

Hernandez, 23, was an undrafted free agent by the Cardinals during the 2005/2006 off-season. With Palm Beach, Hernandez will begin his third campaign in the Cards farm system. He began 2008 on the disabled list still affected by injuries from the 2007 season. The 2007 Midwest League All-Star was in extended spring training working on a throwing program and had previously made one appearance in the Dominican Winter League. Last season, while with Quad Cities, Hernandez made 29 appearances (21 starts) posting a 6-9 record and 4.09 ERA allowing 104 hits, 55 runs (50 earned), 10 home runs, 49 walks, and striking out 111 over 110 innings.

Garceau, 20, was the 20th round (620th overall) pick by the Cardinals out of Royal Palm Beach High School (FL) in the 2005 amateur draft. He is in the beginning of his third season in the Cards farm system after spending last season at Quad Cities. This season with Quad Cities River Bandits, Garceau made seven appearances (five starts) posting a 0-2 record and 2.08 ERA allowing 27 hits, nine runs (six earned), six walks, and striking out 22 over 26 innings. Garceau made his last start for Quad Cities Sunday May 4th and is on his way to Palm Beach to join the club.

Quad Cities – Extended Spring Training

Last but not least, the trickle down affect ends here, at least until the short season begins. The single-A Quad Cities River Bandits have shipped out J.D. Stambaugh to extended spring training along with losing Garceau to Palm Beach. In response to these moves, the River Bandits receive in return right-handed pitchers Josh Wilson and Chuckie Fick from extended spring training.

Stambaugh, 23, was the 25th round pick by the Cardinals in the 2007 amateur draft out of Brigham Young University. Last season, Stambaugh pitched well enough at Batavia to earn a bump up to Quad Cities, as he posted a 3-2 record with a 3.15 ERA in 17 appearances (nine starts).

But this season has come along long and slow for the hopeful starter as he has posted a 1-2 record and 7.08 ERA allowing 30 hits, 21 runs (16 earned), one home run, six walks, and striking out 15 over 20.1 innings in six appearances (thre starts). Maybe a little slow down can help him get back to his previous level, while in extended spring training.

Wilson, 21, was a second round (70th overall) pick by the Cardinals out of Whitehouse High School (TX) in the 2005 amateur draft. This will be Wilson's fourth season in the Cards organization. Last season, Wilson spent basically all year on the disabled list. In the beginning of the season, his surgically repaired labrum flared up placing him on the shelf. Then after only three appearances with Batavia, last July he went back on the shelf and needed arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage.

Like Hernandez, Wilson was in 2008 extended spring training trying to get back to form and work the kinks out. Over his injury plagued three-year career, Wilson has posted a 3-5 record and 5.34 ERA allowing 81 hits, 58 runs (44 earned), 11 home runs, 31 walks and striking out 49 over a slim 74.1 innings in only 18 appearances (17 starts).

Fick, 22, was a 15th round (472nd overall) pick by the Cardinals out of Cal State Northridge University in the 2007 amateur draft. This will be Fick's second season in professional ball and with the Cardinals organization. After being drafted, Fick was signed in June, 2007 and was assigned to rookie level Johnson City, making a huge impact as a late innings reliever. That impact earned him a promotion to Single-A Quad Cities, where he worked as a middle reliever. Between both stops, he posted a 2-0 record with a 1.85 ERA allowing 36 hits, 13 runs (eight earned), one home run, five walks, and 13 strikeouts over 39 innings. Also in his 17 appearances, he claimed two saves and four game finishes.

Fick was invited to extended spring training as the regular season opened, but has apparently made enough of an impression to earn the bump back to Quad Cities. And as we all know by now, he is the son of scout Chuck Fick who works on the West Coast and Far East for the Cardinals.

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