Cards reassign five more players to minors

The St. Louis Cardinals cut their spring training camp player total to 33 on Saturday.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced following Saturday's game that they have re-assigned five non-roster major league camp invitees players to minor league camp. They are right-handed pitcher Seth Maness, catchers J.R. Towles and Audry Perez, infielder Kolten Wong and outfielder Justin Christian.

The latter three played in St. Louis' Saturday contest against Miami.

Maness, 24, is The Cardinal Nation's 14th-ranked prospect this season. The right-hander is the reigning Pitcher of the Year in the Cardinals minor league system and was the subject of a recent subscriber-only interview.

This spring with St. Louis, Maness threw a total of seven innings in four games. He allowed three earned runs for a 3.86 ERA on eight hits and one walk. The control master also collected seven strikeouts. Maness is expected to compete for a spot in Memphis' rotation.

Towles, 29, was signed as a minor league free agent in January. The Texan had six hits in 20 at-bats (.300), scoring three runs and driving in two. The former Houston Astro may serve as a veteran reserve in Memphis.

Perez, 23, is The Cardinal Nation's 38th-ranked prospect in 2013. The right-handed hitter was named an all-star in three of his five seasons, including 2012 in the Texas League.

With St. Louis this spring, Perez had just nine at-bats in eight games and went hitless. If both Towles and Rob Johnson, the latter still in major league camp, are kept at Memphis, Perez would seem earmarked to return to Double-A to start the season.

Wong, 23, is TCN's 6th-ranked prospect coming into this season. With Matt Carpenter seeing extra time at second base this spring, Wong saw limited action.

The left-handed hitter went 7-for-28 (.250) this spring, with two doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBI. Wong drew one walk, stole a base and scored four times. He should be Memphis' everyday second baseman this season and could make his MLB debut later in the year.

Christian, who turns 33 in two weeks, was another minor league free agent signee this off-season. The outfielder batted .229 this spring (8-for-35), including two doubles and a triple. Christian drove in four and scored five times in 21 Grapefruit League contests. The right-handed hitter should figure in the Memphis outfield mix.

These moves have reduced the number of players on the Major League spring roster to 33. That includes injured shortstop Rafael Furcal, out for the season, but not yet formally placed on the disabled list.

Of the 33 players remaining in major league camp this spring, 30 are members of the 40-man roster plus three non-roster invitees – Johnson, Greg Garcia and Oscar Taveras. 15 are pitchers with 18 of them position players.

To see the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and the non-roster spring training invitees, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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