The dust has settled for the final spot in the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen is over and Keith Butler is the last man standing. The right-hander will be part of the 25-man roster to open the season as the team has optioned Jorge Rondon and assigned David Aardsma and Scott McGregor to Memphis (AAA).
Butler at times looked very sharp this Grapefruit League, but was inconsistent as he gave up nine runs on fourteen hits in 9.1 innings pitched.
Rondon also pitched 9.1 innings this spring—and did not allow a run to score. He gave up nine hits and five walks (seven strikeouts).
McGregor had given up three runs on four hits thru 5.1 innings but ran into trouble in Thursday’s finale—hitting and walking a batter, while allowing two runs on three hits two-thirds of an inning.
Aardsma, who was signed as non-roster invitee on March 26th, equally had problems in the finale as he followed McGregor by allowing three runs on one hit in a third of an inning.
To reach the 25-man limit, the Cardinals also optioned Xavier Scruggs and assigned catcher Ed Easley, infielder Scott Moore, and outfielder Stephen Piscotty to the affiliate. Outfielder Joey Butler was out righted to Memphis yesterday.
Still to be determined is the status of infielder Mark Ellis—who has been battling soreness in his knee. As a result, Pete Kozma will travel with the Cardinals to Cincinnati as insurance per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Prior to the game, Kozma will either be optioned to Memphis or Ellis will be placed on the disabled list.
CARDINALS CLOSE ON MEMPHIS
–While the exhibition game against the Redbirds was rained out on Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced they had formally closed on the recent agreement to purchase their Triple-A franchise.
“We are pleased to finalize the purchase of the Redbirds and are looking forward to a long- term partnership with the city of Memphis,” said William DeWitt Jr., Chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Cardinals via team press release.
“Finalizing this deal represents a positive move toward stability of professional baseball in Memphis.”
As part of the deal, the city of Memphis has acquired AutoZone Park and will provide the team with a long-term lease agreement.