The Cardinals trimmed 11 players from their camp roster on Monday.
The St. Louis Cardinals announced on Monday afternoon that they’ve trimmed 11 players from their spring training roster. Lefthanded pitcher Marco Gonzales and infielders Eliezer Alvarez and Edmundo Sosa were all optioned to the minors, while pitchers Sandy Alcantara, Jack Flaherty, Austin Gomber, Daniel Poncedeleon, and Robby Rowland and catchers Andrew Knizner, Jeremy Martinez, and Dennis Ortega were reassigned to minor-league camp.
Gonzales, the only player among the group who didn’t play in a spring training game this year, is the most notable name among the cuts. The 2013 first-rounder is coming off April 2016 Tommy John surgery, is expected to return to game action in May, and if he progresses well, he could be an option to provide rotation depth or contribute as a lefty reliever out of the bullpen for the Cardinals this season. For now, though, he’ll head over to the minor-league side of the complex and continue his rehab.
Alvarez, 22, and Sosa, 21, were both placed on the 40-man roster this past offseason and are tentatively set to begin the season at High-A Palm Beach, where they’re likely to form the middle infield combo with Alvarez at second and Sosa at short.
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The remaining pitchers who were assigned on Monday are all bubble guys to a certain degree. Alcantara and Flaherty, two of the organization’s top pitching prospects, are expected to begin the season at Double-A Springfield, but it’s perhaps possible that both could head back to Palm Beach to start the year depending on how the organizational depth shakes out. Gomber, Poncedeleon, and Rowland could all make the jump to Triple-A, but with so much depth already assembled at that level, all three of them may have to head back to Springfield for another season.
All three of the catchers are lower-level guys and may not even break camp with full-season clubs. Martinez seems most likely to start the year with a full-season team and may be a candidate to start at Palm Beach or Class A Peoria. Knizner will probably begin his season either with Peoria or in extended spring training, while the 19-year-old Ortega, who has just 397 pro at-bats, is almost certain to play with a short-season team this year.
The Cardinals have 55 players remaining on their camp roster, but that list includes injured pitchers Zach Duke, Tyler Lyons, and Alex Reyes, four players–Corey Baker, Carlos Martinez, Trey Nielsen, and Alberto Rosario–that are still participating in the World Baseball Classic, and outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia, who has not yet been cleared to play in Grapefruit League games while he’s awaiting the approval of his work visa.