Cards Add 36 to Extended Spring Training

Seven players are planning their US debuts, including one making his professional introduction as the St. Louis Cardinals open their 2009 Extended Spring Training camp on April 7.

As always this time of year, the players that do not make one of the four full-season St. Louis Cardinals minor league teams remain in Jupiter, Florida and transition from minor league spring training camp into extended spring training camp.

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.

Name Age Yrs Pos 2008 Born
Alvarez, Hector 22 3 SS injured Dominican
Arredondo, Jose 21 4 RHS injured Dominican
Babrick, Joe 19 2 OF GCL USA
Brito, David 20 4 RHS VSL Venezuela
Calero, Jose 19 3 RHS GCL Venezuela
Castellanos, Julio* 21 5 LHS VSL (Hou) Venezuela
Castillo, Amaury 18 2 RHS DSL Dominican
Cruz, Angel 20 3 RHS DSL/GCL Dominican
De La Cruz, Luis 19 4 C Quad Cities Dominican
Diaz, Omar 21 4 RHS GCL Venezuela
Gonzalez, Carlos 20 4 RHS Johnson City Panama
Gonzalez, Jonathan 21 4 RHS VSL Venezuela
Hage, Joey 20 3 OF GCL/JC USA
Javier, Omar 21 4 RHS GCL Dominican
Landin, Jaime 25 4 2B injured USA
Mannbel, Geraldo 18 3 IF VSL Venezuela
Mateo, Luis 18 2 SS GCL/JC Puerto Rico
Medina, David 20 4 OF GCL Dominican
Mosquera, Juan 21 4 SS GCL Panama
Muñoz, Orlando 19 3 RHS GCL Venezuela
Noguera, Carlos 19 4 RHS VSL Venezuela
North, Matt 20 4 RHS Johnson City USA
Notti, Chris 20 2 RHS GCL USA
Obregon, Ted 18 3 SS GCL Venezuela
Orozco, Luis 18 1 RHR amateur Colombia
Ortiz, Pablo 20 4 RHS GCL Venezuela
Peñaloza, Jose 20 4 RHS GCL Venezuela
Perez, Audry 20 2 C DSL/GCL Dominican
Prange, Adam 21 2 RHS GCL USA
Rigoli, Matt 23 2 1B Johnson City USA
Rios, Geney 21 4 RHS VSL Venezuela
Rosario, Rainel 20 4 OF GCL Dominican
Russell, Zach 19 3 RHS GCL USA
Shepherd, Devin 21 2 OF GCL USA
Teran, Kleininger 19 4 IF GCL Venezuela
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.

Except for two, all of the players range in age from 18 through 22. The oldest are 25-year-old Jaime Landin, coming off an injury-ruined 2008 and 23-year-old Matt Rigoli.

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.

Birth place
Venezuela 13
Dominican Republic 10
Panama 2
Colombia 1
Puerto Rico 1
Total 36

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.

Catcher 2
First base 1
Second base 1
Shortstop 5
Third base 0
Infield 2
Outfield 5
RH pitcher 19
LH pitcher 1
Total 36

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.

injured 3
amateur 1 Orozco
DSL 1 Castillo
GCL 18
Johnson City 6
Quad Cities 1 De La Cruz
total 36

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

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