Kozma up, Punto to DL

Somehow I missed this news today. I heard rumblings of Pete Kozma getting the call, but hadn’t seen anything on it. However, here it is.

Nick Punto is headed to the DL for the second time this season. This time for what the Post-Dispatch describes as a “strain near his right elbow.” That’s trouble for the infield defense because Punto is the best fielding infielder this team has.

In his place, the Cardinals have recalled 2007’s first round draft pick Pete Kozma up from Memphis. Kozma, 23, is a shortstop by trade and has played there pretty much his entire minor league career. He was one of the last picks under the Cardinals’ old system where drafting was a mix of signability and talent.

Four years into his professional career and he is still searching for sustained success. Many saw glimpses last year of what Kozma could do in Springfield when he hit .243 with 13 HR and 72 RBI, doubling his previous power outputs.  However, he has not had an easy go of it in Memphis where he is hitting just .220 and has yet to hit a home run. If you want a bright side to his start in Memphis, he may just be off to the best defensive season of his pro career.

Many are already calling this callup a function of the Cardinals having their hands tied by the 40 man roster. Otherwise, it would likely be spring training phenom Matt Carpenter getting the call.

How much will we see Kozma? I doubt it will be very often, though I would hope that Tony would at least give him one game to show what he’s got (who am I kidding right?). I expect this call-up to only remain for just a few days until Skip Schumaker gets a few rehabilitation games under his belt and returns to the major league club. Punto’s injury just delays the roster calisthenics that the Cardinals will have to do once everyone gets back to healthy.