More Cards Minors Roster Changes: 05/10/08

Ten players are changing addresses in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system this weekend, from Double-A Springfield on down.

Last weekend, we saw the St. Louis Cardinals make a large number of moves to cover various spots left open by injuries and demotions.  This weekend the moves continue. Many are not surprising, as a few players are struggling to get going and others have preformed well enough to catch some attention and a promotion.  A total of three players were promoted, four were demoted, one was activated from the disabled list, one was placed on the reserve list, and another was released.


From Double-A Springfield to High-A Palm Beach


Outfielders Luke Gorsett and A.J. Van Slyke, along with right-handed reliever Josh Dew, have all been sent down to Palm Beach.


Gorsett, 24, was the seventh round (226th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 amateur draft out of Nebraska. Gorsett spent his first two seasons in the Cardinals farm system playing for State College in 2006, and split time between Quad Cities and Palm Beach in 2007.  Last season, he hit .295 with 33 doubles, nine home runs, and 51 RBIs. 


During the off-season, he was asked to travel to Nicaragua to work on his hitting skills during their winter league program.  Upon his return to the States, Gorsett had tied for first in home runs and was sixth in RBIs in Nicaragua and played well enough during minor league spring training to earn himself a spot on the Springfield Cardinals roster. 


This season, Gorsett has been really struggling to get the bat going, hitting .207 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, eight RBIs, and struck out 15 times over 87 at-bats at Springfield.  Coaches had moved the struggling outfielder into the DH role to concentrate on his hitting. He showed a little pop this last week, but it didn't hold up too long. Gorsett made his return debut last Saturday night, going 1-for-3.


Van Slyke, 24, was the 23rd round (710th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2005 amateur draft out of Kansas. Van Slyke is beginning his fourth season in the Cardinals farm system.  The outfielder/first baseman began his career in 2005 with rookie level Johnson City and received a quick promotion to Single-A Short Season New Jersey.  While there, Van Slyke hit the disabled list with multiple injuries to his shoulder and eventually required surgery. 


He returned in 2006 with a promotion to Single-A Quad Cities and struggled, leading to a demotion to Single-A Short Season State College where his bat finally picked up.  In 2007, he was once again promoted, this time to A-Advanced Palm Beach, where he continued his progress from the season before.  This season, after minor league spring training, he was placed on the Double-A Springfield roster where he once again slipped back into his earlier kind of results, only hitting .244 with four doubles, one triple, one RBI, and struck out two times in 45 at-bats.


Dew, 23, was the 14th round (442nd overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2007 amateur draft out of Troy State. This is Dew's second season in the Cardinals farm system as he made his debut season with Single-A Short Season Batavia last season.  The late innings reliever earned a promotion to A-Advanced Palm Beach after his impressive 2007 season.  There, Dew made six relief appearances giving up five hits, one earned run, one walk, and striking out nine over 7.1 innings while collecting two saves.  On April 18th, Dew was called-up to Double-A Springfield to replace struggling reliever Jon Mikrut, who was demoted to Palm Beach. 


However, Dew himself ended up back in Palm Beach as he continued down the same path that Mikrut followed. While at Springfield, Dew posted an 0-2 record with one save and a 6.30 ERA allowing 19 hits, 13 runs (seven earned), one home run, three walks, and striking out eight over 10 innings.


From High-A Palm Beach To Double-A Springfield plus an Activation


With the demotions of Gorsett, Dew, and Van Slyke, the Springfield Cardinals get utilityman Steven Hill and DH/third baseman Isa Garcia.  Also, right-handed starting pitcher Adam Ottavino has been activated from the 7-day disabled list.


Hill, 23, was the 13th-round (412nd overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2007 amateur draft out of Stephen F. Austin.  Hill is beginning his second professional season and is quickly rising up in the Cardinals farm system.


Last season, Hill hit .436 with one home run and 11 RBIs in 39 at-bats at Batavia and was soon promoted to Single-A Quad Cities.  There, he ended the season hitting .303 with 11 home runs and 44 RBIs. Hill was named Midwest League Player of the Week for time period of July 23-29 and at the end of the season was named The Birdhouse's Batavia Hitter of the Year. 


This season, Hill has continued tearing up the Midwest League, hitting .320 (team-leading) with seven doubles (second), two triples (second-tied), seven home runs (team leading), 25 RBIs (team leading), 11 walks (second), and striking out 25 times (third) in 122 at-bats. He was in Springfield's lineup Saturday night as their first baseman.


Garcia, 23, was the 34th round (1036th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 amateur draft out of Sam Houston State.  This is Garcia's third season in the Cardinals farm system.  He started his professional career with Rookie Level Johnson City in 2006 where he hit .339 with 17 doubles, four home runs, and 26 RBIs. 


In 2007, the utility infielder was promoted to Single-A Quad Cities and went on a tear that earned him a quick in-season bump to A-Advanced Palm Beach.  While there last season, he slowed down, hitting .252 with 15 doubles, five home runs, 30 RBIs, and striking out 36 times in 309 at-bats. 


During the off-season, Garcia represented his native country of Panama in the IBAF World Cup, getting very little playing time.  This spring, the Garcia of old returned and he was assigned to Palm Beach. There he hit .310 with eight doubles, one triple, 15 RBIs, nine walks, and striking out 10 times over 84 at-bats.  Last season, he also struggled somewhat in the field committing 14 errors, but this year he has just one since he assumed the DH duties for Palm Beach.  Garcia was also in the lineup Saturday night playing third base for Springfield.


Ottavino, 22, as I had reported earlier in the week, has been activated from the 7-day disabled list.  The starting pitcher has been battling with inflammation in his right shoulder this season. He will be making his fifth start of the season for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals on Saturday night, May 10.  This season, Ottavino has made four starts, posting an 0-3 record with a 6.98 ERA allowing 20 hits, 15 runs (13 earned), three home runs, 13 walks, and striking out 16 over 19.1 innings.


Other Moves at Palm Beach and Quad Cities


The Palm Beach Cardinals have placed struggling right-handed closer Kenny Maiques on the reserve list, which opens a spot on the roster for third baseman Brian Cartie.

Maiques, 22, was the 37th round (1130th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2005 amateur draft out of Rio Hondo Junior College.  Maiques was beginning his second (full) season in the Cardinals farm system.  In 2006, he also made one appearance with Single-A Short Season State College as he dealt with tightness in his forearm.  Since he had just recovered from Tommy John surgery, he was sent home to rest. 

2007 was a different story for the closer as he started the season with Single-A Quad Cities.  There he made 52 relief appearances, posting a 1-5 record with 31 saves (Quad Cities single-season record), 49 game finishes, and 1.53 ERA for the Single-A squad.  He was also named The Birdhouse's Swing Player of the Week on June 4, 2007 and was named to the 2007 Midwest League All-Star team. 


This season, Maiques was promoted to A-Advanced Palm Beach, where he posted an 0-1 record with only three saves, seven game finishes, and a 7.30 ERA allowing six hits, 12 runs (10 earned), an astounding 20 walks, and striking out seven over 12.1 innings in 12 relief appearances.  Maiques lost his closer position to Jon Mikrut in the last couple weeks as his wildness had increased.  No word yet on where his future stands at this time or if there may be an injury.


Cartie, 23, was the 20th round (622nd overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2007 amateur draft out of McNeese State.  This will be Carite's second season in the Cardinals farm system. 


Last season, the third baseman was assigned to Single-A Short Season Batavia Muckdogs.  He only played in eight games as he was shut down a month into his first professional season with a separated shoulder.  In those eight games, Cartie was only 4-for-26 with two RBIs, four walks, and four strike outs. 


This off-season and extended spring training, Cartie has been training and rehabbing to strengthen his shoulder and get his swing back.  Also to note was that he made nine starts out of his 20 pitching appearances while at McNeese State.



The Cardinals organization also sent OF Tommy Pham down to Single-A Quad Cities to take the spot of newly-released OF Justin Roberson.


Pham, 20, was the 16th round (496th overall) pick by the Cardinals in the 2006 amateur draft out of Durango High School (Las Vegas, NV).  Pham is in his third professional season in the Cardinals organization in 2008.


After signing with the Cardinals, Pham was assigned to Rookie level Johnson City, where he hit .231 and played 31 games at shortstop.  In 2007, he changed positions to the outfield and was sent to Single-A Quad Cities and later demoted down to Short Season Batavia after struggling at the plate.  Pham hit .188 with eight doubles, five triples, two home runs, 17 RBIs, 28 walks, 17 stolen bases, and struck out 69 times in 271 at-bats last season combined between both stops. 


This spring, Pham came out of the gate pounding the ball and was assigned to Quad Cities once again, to start the 2008 season.  Soon his 2008 season became the same way he left off in 2007, hitting .146 with three doubles, one home run, seven RBIs, seven walks, and 30 strike outs in 82 at-bats. 


Roberson, 23, was an undrafted free agent signing by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007 from the MLB Urban Youth Academy.  He attended Feather River Community College and Cal State San Bernardino and was starting his second season in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. 


Last season, Roberson hit .255 in 196 at-bats with Batavia.  During spring training, he played his way onto the Quad Cities roster.  But as the regular season rolled on, Roberson struggled at the plate, hitting .197 with three doubles, six RBIs, eight walks, seven stolen bases, struck out 20 times in 71 at-bats.  His bat did not carry him and he lacked the speed that Cardinals scout Jeff Ishii spoke of at the time of his signing.



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