Two Ex-Huskers Hang Up Cardinals Spikes

St. Louis Cardinals minor league reliever Mike Sillman and outfielder Luke Gorsett have retired from professional baseball. Three other players have been excused from camp.

On Monday morning, I published the names of 154 St. Louis Cardinals players invited to minor league spring training camp. By that afternoon, eight more players were sent down to join them.

The list includes a handful of players on short-season Johnson City's roster last year as well as every player named on the off-season rosters of all four of the Cardinals full-season clubs plus those on the highest-level short-season club, the Batavia Muckdogs - with the exception of five individuals.

Two of the five "missing" players have retired, one suffered a spring injury, one is reporting late due to suspension and the final one, coming off a year lost to the aftermath of surgery, is invited to extended spring training instead.

Back in the fall of 2007, I noted the Walt Jocketty-era Cardinals had drafted 11 former University of Nebraska players, the most from any university, college or high school.

The remaining Huskers among the active players in the system declined by 50 percent when reliever Mike Sillman and outfielder Luke Gorsett decided during the off-season to retire from professional baseball. First basemen Andrew Brown and Brandon Buckman remain, currently assigned to Double-A Springfield.

At the age of just 19, catcher Luis De La Cruz received a coveted non-roster invitation to major league camp after having missed most of 2008 with a wrist injury. His disabled list bugaboo continues as he suffered a fractured rib in major league camp before ever seeing an official spring at-bat.

Our number 28-ranked prospect in the Cardinals system in 2008 was re-assigned to minor league camp as part of the first cuts of the spring back on March 8. De La Cruz returned home to the Dominican Republic to rest before being scheduled to arrive back in Jupiter early next month.

Juan Castillo, 19, is on the working roster of Quad Cities after catching in just 27 games for the Gulf Coast League last season. The promising prospect was suspended for 50 games late last August after testing positive for a banned substance. As a result, he will arrive in camp from the Dominican Republic later on.

Second baseman Jaime Landin is still recovering from his 2008 shoulder surgery. Though he played at Quad Cities in 2007, the 25-year-old will be joining those reporting to extended spring training camp on April 7 as he attempts to resume his career after a lost season.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.

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