Cardinals narrow down roster

With less than 10 days remaining in Spring Training, the Cardinals made a major step towards finalizing the Opening Day roster by cutting 10 players.

Included in that number is Matt Carpenter who, as I expected, was reassigned to minor league camp and is expected to be the Memphis Redbirds’ starting third baseman. It’s also likely that he will be the first to get a call if anything happens with David Freese.

The other players cut are C Tony Cruz, P Brandon Dickson, P John Gast, 1B Mark Hamilton, P Joe Kelly, P Blake King, P Lance Lynn, OF Shane Robinson, and P Raul Valdes. They were reassigned to minor league camp where they will then receive their minor league assignments.

With the moves, it confirms that Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene will be the backup infielders on the bench, joining Gerald Laird, Jon Jay, and Allen Craig. Also, Kyle McClellan is the only fifth starter candidate left in camp as well, securing his position with the team.

The moves should leave four relievers battling for two spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen. Those would be Bryan Augenstein, Miguel Batista, Eduardo Sanchez, and Fernando Salas.

Salas should have one of the spots in the bullpen as, beyond McClellan, he has been the most impressive pitcher, statistics-wise as he has only allowed one hit in his over 9 innings on the mound.

I expect the final spot to come down between Augenstein and Batista. Both have pitched well in spring training thus far, and each offer something different. Augenstein is younger and is more of a strikeout pitcher with his 9 Ks in 8 innings. Batista is older, but he is more versatile since he is capable of spot-starting if the Cardinals need him to. I’d prefer Augenstein, but I expect Batista to make the club because of that versatility.