Cardinals Mexican League Update: First Half

At the midpoint of the 2008 Mexican League season, we check on the results of St. Louis Cardinals farmhands participating.

With the end of the first half of the 2008 Triple-A Mexican League season, we will take a look at the results of the players assigned by the St. Louis Cardinals to the league. Three were given the option to play in Mexico or face an uncertain future with the organization. Two declined and another filled the gap. A fourth player was reassigned to the Mexican League after losing his job in the Memphis outfield. Also as a bonus we will take a quick look at an infielder who was sent back after not playing well enough in 2008 spring camp to earn a contract.

Trey Hearne, 24, was assigned to the Petroleros de Minatitlan of the Triple-A Mexican League in March of 2008 after minor league spring training camp. This gave the right-handed starter a chance to stay a part of the Cardinals organization and work on the mechanics he had struggled with last season.

While assigned to A-Advanced Palm Beach in 2007, Hearne allowed 181 hits, 103 runs (91 earned), 10 home runs, 42 walks, and striking out 90 over 137.2 innings. He made 21 starts out of his 31 appearances and posted a 5-11 record with opponents hitting .323 against him.

This season, the former 28th round pick by the Cardinals has made nine starts in the Mexican League and has posted a 5-1 record with a 2.94 ERA. He came out of the gate ready to go in his first start (April 6th) pitching 5 1/3 innings allowing four hits, three runs (two earned), three walks, one wild pitch, and striking out seven.

Hearne has kept a steady innings pitched and pitch count throughout his first half of Triple-A play, only falling almost 20 pitches under 100 twice. Most of the time around the 4th-5th innings, he starts to show signs of fatigue as this is about the time he starts walking batters. A couple times, Hearne has walked batters in the first. He also keeps sitting the batters down as he struck out 50 batters in his 51 innings pitched.

Hearne's best start came on May 10th as he pitched seven innings allowing one hit, no runs, four walks, one hit by pitch, one wild pitch, and striking out a season-high eight batters. He is the best starter on his team has and it shows currently in his stats: Five wins (team leader), 2.94 ERA (team leader among starters), nine game starts (3rd), 52 innings (2nd), 33 hits (6th), 22 runs (6th), 17 earned runs (6th), five hit batters (t-3rd), 31 walks (2nd), and 51 strikeouts (team leader). Adding to his stats, Hearne is the only starter that has not allowed a home run.

His worst start came, in my opinion, on April 24th when he lasted 5 2/3 innings allowing five hits, three earned runs, four walks, and striking out seven en route to his first loss. It's not an all-around bad start, but shaky-looking compared to his other appearances.

The Petroleros were 8-8 before Hearne joined and ended the first half with a 21-35 record and a seventh place finish in the Southern Division of the Mexican League.

Outfielder Amaury Marti was placed on the disabled list by Triple-A Memphis and a couple weeks later reassigned to the Mexican League. The Cuban native played in three games for Diablos Rojos del Mexico before the first half ended. In those three games, Marti was 5-for-11 with two doubles, one home run, seven RBIs, two walks, one sac fly and two strike outs. Los Diablos won all three games, ending the first half with a 31-23 record and a second place finish in the Southern Division.

Others given an option earlier in the season to pitch in the Mexican League were Kris Honel and Bob Zimmermann. Honel was injured after spring camp and stayed to later pitch for Double-A Springfield but was released a month later. Zimmermann got lucky in the short term when Matt Scherer ended up on the disabled list. He also pitched for Springfield before turning down a second request and then being released. Instead of Zimmermann, the Cardinals sent Springfield lefty Adam Daniels to Minatitlan on May 21st to extend their working contract agreement with the Triple-A team.

Infielder Ivan Bellazetin was in the 2008 Cardinals minor league camp, but returned to Minatitlan. He was activated April 24 and played in 21 games, batting .316 with three doubles, six RBIs, three walks, one stolen base, and eight strike outs in 62 at-bats. His average is dropping drastically as he has only one hit in his last 16 at-bats.

During the second half, make sure to keep an eye on our Mexican League updates on our Insiders premium message board: here.

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