Those players are joined by a group of typically less experienced players brought in specifically for EST. In 2009, this new group of players reporting on April 7 consists of 36 players, down from 45 a year ago.
|Castellanos, Julio*||21||5||LHS||VSL (Hou)||Venezuela|
|De La Cruz, Luis||19||4||C||Quad Cities||Dominican|
|Gonzalez, Carlos||20||4||RHS||Johnson City||Panama|
|Mateo, Luis||18||2||SS||GCL/JC||Puerto Rico|
|North, Matt||20||4||RHS||Johnson City||USA|
|Rigoli, Matt||23||2||1B||Johnson City||USA|
|Toribio, Guillermo||22||4||SS||Johnson City||Dominican|
The holdover players joining them in EST will not be made available until the four full-season club rosters are released.
In terms of experience, the group includes two bookends.
One month ago, catcher Luis De La Cruz, 19, was in major league camp, but after a fractured rib, he was sent home to heal. Last season, he played with Quad Cities before injuring a wrist.
His opposite in terms of exposure is 18-year-old right-handed Colombian pitcher Luis Orozco, who will be making his professional debut in EST as planned. He was signed while playing on a winter league club in his home country.
The individuals in the group have up to four prior years of professional experience, with one player entering his fifth season, left-handed pitcher Julio Castellanos, signed after four years in Houston's Venezuelan academy.
Speaking of home country, the group is very diverse. Just one-fourth of them, nine of 36, were born in the United States. The largest contingent hails from Venezuela, 13, followed by the Dominican Republic at 10.
From a positional perspective, just over half, 19 of the 36, are right-handed pitchers. A continuing challenge for the organization, left-handed pitching, is borne out by the fact just one of them is part of the group.
Three players are coming off a 2008 ended by injuries, while seven players are arriving from the overseas academies to try to win a job on a US-based club for the first time. The latter group includes one who played for the Dominican Summer League Cardinals last season and six more that competed in the Venezuelan Summer League as their highest level.
|Quad Cities||1||De La Cruz|
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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