St. Louis Cardinals Swap Xavier Scruggs, Greg Garcia for Ed Easley, Mitch Harris


In an expected shakeup prior to their weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals promoted first baseman/outfielder Xavier Scruggs and infielder Greg Garcia to the major leagues while optioning catcher Ed Easley and righthanded relief pitcher Mitch Harris to Triple-A Memphis.

Scruggs will begin his second big-league stint of the season after going 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter in a brief two-day stint last month. The righthanded-hitting first baseman will serve as a backup for starter Mark Reynolds and will likely be one of the team’s top pinch hitters from the right side, supplanting .098-hitting Pete Kozma and backup catcher Tony Cruz, who will once again be avoided as a pinch hitter without Easley as the emergency backup behind him. Scruggs is hitting .251/.363/.488 with 11 homers and 35 RBI for the Redbirds this season.

Garcia will make his first big-league appearance of the year after gritting his way past offseason acquisitions Dean Anna and Ty Kelly on the organizational depth chart. The addition of Garcia will allow the Cardinals to give third baseman Matt Carpenter a day off without having to deal with multiple Pete Kozma at-bats. He also provides a lefthanded bat for the bench, which was nonexistent on days where Jon Jay and Jason Heyward both started. Garcia, who is a natural shortstop but can play second and third as well, is hitting .313/.405/.369 with no homers and 25 RBI for Memphis.

More from St. Louis Cardinals

Harris, one of the better stories in Major League Baseball as a 29-year-old rookie and former active duty Marine, got off to a great start, remaining unscored upon through his first seven outings. However, he had regressed to the iffy form that he had displayed through the majority of his minor-league career since mid-May. Harris hadn’t pitched since a June 8 blowout loss at Colorado and had made just three appearances during the month of May, so there was either a great loss of trust from manager Mike Matheny or concern about Harris’s workload. Though Harris had been inactive in recent days, it was a bit surprising to see him demoted when fellow righty reliever Miguel Socolovich, who was recalled to the big-league club on June 9, still has yet to appear in a game since his promotion. Though the Cardinals have been able to avoid Socolovich, Harris, and long reliever Carlos Villanueva for most of the month of June, Socolovich may now get more work with the team returning to a 12-man pitching staff.

More from Arch Authority

It was always a bit of a mystery as to why Easley was with the big-league club when players like Scruggs and Garcia were performing well at Triple-A. It seemed at the time of Easley’s May 27 recall that his promotion would give the Cardinals the flexibility to use starting catcher Yadier Molina as their backup first baseman or backup Tony Cruz as a reserve infielder. However, Easley ended up playing in just two games, pinch-hitting on May 29 against the Dodgers and catching at the end of an 11-3 loss to the Rockies on June 8. Meanwhile, Cruz played third base just once–in the same blowout loss that Easley saw his lone action behind the plate in–while Molina never played first. Having players on the bench like Garcia and Scruggs who are in a better position to get on the field should give the Cardinals more positional flexibility among their position players than they had through the past few weeks with Easley.

Next: Cardinals-Twins Recap: Disappointing Endings