Cardinals Friday Roster Changes Touch Twelve

On Thursday night and Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals made roster moves affecting 12 players at six levels in their system, including pitcher Chris Perez' first call to the major leagues.

The St. Louis Cardinals continue to make frequent and wide-reaching changes up and down their system in 2008. On Thursday night and Friday, at least twelve players more are changing their status and/or addresses.

The drama surrounding the major league closer has garnered the most fan ire and press ink, but there are other moves of note as well. In summary, the Friday transactions are as follows:

St. Louis: Jason Isringhausen to the 15-day DL, Chris Perez promoted from Memphis, Josh Kinney moved from the 15 to 60-day DL.

Memphis: Gabe Johnson and Matt Scherer activated and Rico Washington placed on the DL.

Springfield: Cory Rauschenberger retired and Mark McCormick promoted from Palm Beach.

Palm Beach: Brandon Buckman to the seven-day DL, Andrew Brown promoted from Quad Cities and Eddie Degerman brought in from Extended Spring Training.

Quad Cities: Francisco Rivera transferred from Extended Spring Training (Gulf Coast League).

St. Louis: Izzy out, Perez up, Kinney to 60-day

Right-handed closer Jason Isringhausen was placed on the 15-day disabled list. The stated reason was a laceration (cut) to his right hand, caused when he hit a television in apparent frustration one week ago. Interestingly, since that episode, the 35-year-old was able to make three appearances.

The unstated reason for the move is for Izzy to somehow regain his lost mound confidence after absorbing six blown saves and five losses in his first 17 save situations this season. He reportedly will report to Cardinals camp in Jupiter, Florida this coming week.

To replace Izzy on the 25-man active roster, the club purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Chris Perez from Memphis (AAA). His initial appearance with St. Louis will be Perez' major league debut.

Perez, 22, the Cardinals' second overall selection in the 2006 draft (42nd player overall) was a Texas League All-Star last season at Double-A Springfield. He combined for 35 saves in 37 chances between Springfield and Memphis last season before competing for Team USA last fall.

This season, Perez had a 1-1 record with a team-leading eight saves (fourth in the Pacific Coast League) and a 2.04 ERA in 18 games for the Redbirds. The 6-4, 225-pound righty fanned 22 batters in his 17.2 IP, walked nine and allowed only 12 hits.

For Perez, who characterizes his style as "effectively wild", the major test will be whether or not he can keep the free passes under control. There is no doubt he possesses major league stuff. It would be surprising to see him immediately placed in a late-inning role with the Cardinals, but he could earn that job down the line.

Perez was rated this past off-season as the Cardinals' fourth-ranked prospect by The Birdhouse. Perez is wearing uniform #63 and is available out of the bullpen Friday night.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Perez, the Cardinals transferred pitcher Josh Kinney from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. The selection of Kinney instead of Tyler Johnson, already out for the season due to shoulder surgery, is an interesting one.

Kinney has not taken the mound in a regular season game since 2006. Two elbow surgeries ensued. The 29-year-old began his rehab throwing program in Florida this week and has not apparently experienced another setback. In reality, all this move precludes would be a May activation of Kinney, which was clearly not in the cards, anyway.

Memphis: Johnson and Scherer in and Rico out

For the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, catcher Gabe Johnson has been activated from the seven-day disabled list. The 28-year-old, out of baseball last season, had been placed on the DL on April 25.

On the season, Johnson is batting .167 with one home run and seven RBI. He will be playing the role of the third catcher, with veteran Mark Johnson and now top prospect Bryan Anderson also on the roster.

In the corresponding transaction, third baseman Rico Washington was placed on the disabled list. Career minor leaguer Washington, 29, made headlines six weeks ago when he surprisingly made the major league roster out of spring training when Brendan Ryan went onto the disabled list.

Upon returning to Triple-A on April 21, Washington continued his struggles at the plate, posting a .191/.316/.383 with two home runs and eight RBI in 47 at-bats with Memphis.

Reliever Matt Scherer was activated from the disabled list on Friday to take the roster spot of Chris Perez. The 25-year-old had made only two appearances for the Redbirds before being disabled on May 4. In four innings, Scherer did not allow a run and just two hits.

Out of Le Moyne College, he started the year on the Springfield disabled list with forearm tightness. After being activated on April 13, Scherer posted a 2.08 ERA in 4.1 innings while recording one save. He was promoted to Memphis on April 26 and made his debut that day.

Springfield: Rauschenberger retires and McCormick promoted

Cardinals 2005 first-round pick, right-handed pitcher Mark McCormick, has been promoted from A-Advanced Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield to fill the roster spot vacated by retiring pitcher Cory Rauschenberger. Both of these moves were broken down in exclusive "Hot News" items Thursday evening. To read the details, click on the links in the following:

"Rauschenberger Retires"

"McCormick to Springfield"

Palm Beach: Buckman to the DL, Brown promoted and Degerman in

First baseman Brandon Buckman has been placed on the seven-day disabled list by the A-Advanced Florida State League club. The 24-year-old was originally taken in the 19th round of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft from the University of Nebraska.

Last season, our 37th-ranked Cardinals prospect excelled in the Quad Cities, hitting .341/.384/.590 in 261 at bats with 14 home runs and 52 RBI. He struggled after being promoted to Palm Beach, hitting only .268/.295/.397, with just five home runs and 27 RBI in 194 at-bats for Palm Beach.

In 2008, the 6-foot-6 Buckman has posted a relatively-quiet .275/.344/.328 line with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 at-bats with Palm Beach.

To take Buckman's place on the active roster, first baseman Andrew Brown was promoted from the Quad Cities River Bandits. He is the fourth Quad Cities player this season to move up to the Florida State League club.

Brown, a 23-year-old first baseman, was hitting .274 with a team-high five home runs and 23 RBI for the River Bandits through his first 34 games of the season. He was especially hot as of late, as the 18th-round pick out of the University of Nebraska was in the midst of a six-game hitting streak in which he was batting .400 with six doubles and a home run.

Right-handed pitcher Eddie Degerman has been called up from Extended Spring Training to assume the roster spot of McCormick. With his funky over-the-top delivery, Degerman remains an intriguing prospect.

Selected in the fourth round of the June, 2006 First-Year Player Draft from Rice, the 24-year-old was lights-out in a dozen appearances with Quad Cities (2.45 ERA, 71 Ks in 47 2/3 IP), but had trouble with control in his introduction to the Florida State League last season. Degerman walked 36 in 54 2/3 innings, but has also struck out more than one batter per inning at each stop as a professional.

Quad Cities: Rivera in from Extended Spring Training

Assuming Brown's spot on the Quad Cities roster is Francisco Rivera, a 19-year-old outfielder from Medellin de Bravo, Mexico. Rivera, who was signed by the Cardinals on January 19, 2007, will be making his professional debut when he appears in his first game for the River Bandits.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Dustin Mattison also contributed to this article.

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