Morty Gets the Call as Khalil Stumbles Again

The St. Louis Cardinals promote Clayton Mortensen from Memphis while troubled infielder Khalil Greene returns to the disabled list.

The St. Louis Cardinals have purchased the contract of pitcher Clayton Mortensen while placing infielder Khalil Greene back on the disabled list due to a relapse of his anxiety disorder.

Mortensen, taken with the 36th pick in the 2007 draft from Gonzaga, is the second member of his Cardinals draft class to make the major leagues. Called up earlier this month, second-rounder Jess Todd was the first.

The 24-year-old right-hander will be the 14th rookie to suit up for the Cardinals this season and will become the eighth to make his Major League debut for the Cardinals in 2009. That comes on the heels of 11 Cardinals MLB debuts in 2008, the most in any Tony La Russa-era year since 1997.

The 6-foot-4, 185 pound Mortensen was 7-4 with a 4.24 ERA in 14 starts for Triple-A Memphis this season, fanning 64 batters in his 85 innings pitched with 31 walks. Our 11th-ranked Cardinals prospect last winter will wear uniform number 54 with St. Louis.

Greene had immediate success in his return from the disabled list on June 18, hitting home runs in three consecutive games before a suffering a setback during the Mets series in New York. Over the weekend, he sat out the first two games of the Twins series before going hitless and committing an error on Sunday. That led to him being pulled from the game in the seventh inning.

The future of the free-agent-to-be with the Cardinals and in organized baseball for that matter remains cloudy. Newly-acquired Mark DeRosa may be called on to play more time at the hot corner in Greene's absence. In fact, one has to wonder if Greene's continuing problems increased the Cardinals' urgency to meet the Indians' asking price. (Chris Perez plus a player to be named later, to be selected from a list that is rumored to include minor league relievers Todd and Francisco Samuel head to Cleveland.)

Mortensen's addition brings the Cardinals' 40-man roster up to 39 players. To replace Mortensen on the Redbirds' active roster, reliever Katsuhiko Maekawa was reinstated from the temporary inactive list.

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

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