St. Louis Cardinals Designate OF Gary Brown for Assignment


The St. Louis Cardinals have apparently seen all that they need to in order to make a determination on newly-acquired outfielder Gary Brown’s ability. Brown, who was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants in the closing days of spring training, was designated for assignment by the team on Tuesday morning as they cleared a 40-man roster space for righthanded relief pitcher Mitch Harris. Harris will join the bullpen, at least for the next several days, as outfielder Peter Bourjos leaves the team to attend to the birth of a child.

Brown, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2010, had struggled rather significantly in the minors over the past several seasons after getting off to a great professional start in 2011 at High-A. The center fielder finally put it together a bit near the end of the 2014 season and received a September call-up to the big leagues. With injuries decimating the Giants’ outfield corps, he made the postseason roster for the divisional round and saw action as a pinch-hitter in the Giants’ 18-inning victory over the Washington Nationals.

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After being beat out for a big-league roster spot this spring by journeyman Justin Maxwell, Brown was DFA’d by the Giants and ended up in the Cardinals organization. He was seen as a possible depth option in center field and was an exceptionally practical pick-up due to the fact that Tommy Pham opened up the season on the disabled list. Brown didn’t acquit himself exceptionally well, though, going 4-for-25 (.160) with four strikeouts and one walk through his first few weeks at Triple-A Memphis. That led to the Cardinals exercising the “last in, first out” policy when it came time to find a spot for Harris.

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Though it’s very debatable as to how much Brown could have helped anyway, his subtraction further shrivels the Cardinals’ outfield depth. Randal Grichuk, the Cardinals’ primary backup at all three spots to start the season, was placed on the DL with a back injury this past weekend, and it’s unclear as to how much time he’ll miss. Bourjos is a quality defensive center fielder and can push starter Jon Jay to a corner in relief of Matt Holliday or Jason Heyward, but if something happens to any of those players in the near future the Cards may be relying on guys like Mark Reynolds and Pete Kozma to play significant innings in the outfield.

The Cardinals don’t really have any big-league-caliber outfielders beyond top prospect Stephen Piscotty at Triple-A, and Piscotty hasn’t exactly been great to start the season, going 8-for-34 at the plate, though he does have a much better .381 OBP. Piscotty has never played center field professionally, so Jason Heyward may be the Cardinals’ third option in center field if they need one before Grichuk returns.

Next: Cardinals Promoting RHP Mitch Harris to Major Leagues