With three more roster cuts on Sunday, the Cardinals brought additional clarity to a bullpen competition that is now down to three. Left-handed reliever Sam Freeman, along with outfielder Joey Butler, was optioned to Triple-A for the final week of Spring Training. Cuban shortstop Aledmys Diaz was also sent down and added to the roster of Double-A Springfield, where Diaz will begin the season. With Freeman no longer competing for an Opening Day spot in the Cardinals' bullpen, they are left to choose from Jorge Rondon, Keith Butler or Scott McGregor as their seventh reliever. There is a vacancy with Jason Motte set to begin the season on the disabled list. After making Sunday's roster moves, manager Mike Matheny offered an assessment on those three still competing for a big league job. "I think with Rondon, you're looking at stuff and a guy who has improved," Matheny said. "We gave him a task of pounding the strike zone and simplifying his approach. It's something that he has done well, and he's seen some results. "We made some challenges to Butler as well, to use his fastball in the zone and being a little more consistent and fooling with his slot a little bit. I think we saw some good results [Saturday], the time before a little rough, but overall he's a guy we know can come in and do a couple things. He can throw more than one inning; we've seen that. We've seen him be able to get out some lefties. "And McGregor, we're still watching. He's a guy who wasn't even in camp with us. But he made a positive impression and depending on what the need of the club is, there could be a use for a guy like him." As for Freeman, who allowed two runs on six hits and four walks in 6 1/3 spring innings, the decision to send him out of big league camp now was made so that he could get consistent work over the next week. Butler will begin the season in Memphis, but with an undefined role. The Cardinals are expected to feature a Triple-A outfield of prospects -- Oscar Taveras, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk -- which would make Butler a fourth outfielder. He went 4-for-19 this spring. Diaz, after signing on March 9 and going to Mexico to obtain a work visa, was able to play in two Grapefruit League games since returning. He went 3-for-5, but the Cardinals felt it necessary to get him to Minor League camp soon so that he can play regularly.
Cards trim roster by three, narrowing 'pen options
MLB.com | Mar 23