He had surgery last September to remove the hamate bone in that same hand and must be dealing with complications from it. The timing couldn't have been worse as in recent days, the major league club placed outfielders Rick Ankiel and Ryan Ludwick on the disabled list only to see Mather be unavailable. Shane Robinson made his MLB debut and Nick Stavinoha answered the calls for help instead.
Short-handed at the upper levels of the system, the Cardinals chose to make a free agent signing to help bolter the Redbirds' roster rather than promote from Springfield. The organization signed free agent infielder Javier Brito, who most recently played for Double-A West Tennessee before being released.
Brito had joined the Seattle Mariners organization as a minor league free agent last December. For the DiamondJaxx, he posted an interesting line of .245/.403/.286 with 13 strikeouts in 49 at-bats this season. The right-handed hitter collected six RBI before being released after 17 games.
He was originally signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002 and enjoyed considerable success rising up through the ranks. In 2007, Brito led the Diamondbacks farm system with a .327 average and was tops in the Double-A Southern League in average, walks, slugging and on-base percentage. He was both a regular and post-season All-Star.
In 2008, Brito was promoted to Triple-A Tucson, but lasted just 18 games before landing on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis from late April until mid-June. Upon his return, he was reassigned to Double-A Mobile, where he hit 12 home runs and drove in 42 in 63 games. His line was .269/.385/.513 over 193 at-bats. His Arizona run ended when he was outrighted off their 40-man roster last November 3rd. He declared free agency shortly thereafter.
Our Scout.com counterpart at Futurebacks.com, Keith Glab, was unhappy over Brito's departure last November.
"He ranked as the Diamondbacks' 15th-best prospect this spring and has always exhibited among the best plate discipline in the entire Diamondbacks system. The notion that the Diamondbacks would not want to keep him on their 40-man roster for the upcoming season is a bizarre one. He is currently playing for Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan Winter League, and figures to get an opportunity with another organization next spring."
The 26-year-old Venezuelan made his Memphis debut Thursday night, going 1-for-4 at the plate and grounded into a double play in a 3-1 loss to Las Vegas.
The Cardinals were two players short after the call up of Stavinoha to St. Louis and the placement of left-handed pitcher Ian Ostlund on the seven-day disabled list earlier this week.
Second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir and left-handed reliever Katsuhiko Maekawa were activated from the disabled list. The 30-year-old Japanese pitcher was placed on the DL back on April 24 while the infielder joined him on May 5 due to a hamstring injury. Neither appeared in Thursday night's contest.
Hoffpauir's line over 21 games and 66 at-bats prior to hitting the DL was just .227/.297/.364. The right-handed hitter drew seven walks but also fanned seven times.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at his blog, The Cardinal Nation.
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