Springfield, MO - The St. Louis Cardinals and the Springfield Cardinals have announced the Preliminary Roster for the 2013 Springfield squad. The Cardinals 2013 Opening Day Roster will be finalized when Springfield starts the season on the road this Thursday against the Corpus Christi Hooks at 7:05 p.m.
Twenty players on the Preliminary Roster were a part of the 2012 Texas League Champion Cardinals, the first Springfield team to win a Texas League Title and the first to secure a professional baseball championship in the city since 1939. Of the returning Cardinals, two earned 2012 Texas League All-Star honors - RHP Keith Butler (Mid-Season and Post-Season), who recorded 25 saves in 26 opportunities, and C Audry Perez (Mid-Season), who hit .263 with four home runs and 42 RBIs in 81 games while managing one of the best pitching staffs in the league.
Also returning is 1B Xavier Scruggs, who ranked 3rd in the league with 91 RBIs and 6th with 22 home runs a year ago. For his career, the Poway, CA native has belted 84 bombs with 320 RBIs through five professional seasons in the Cardinals system. Returning outfielders include OF Adam Melker (.278, 10 HR, 35 RBI, 126 G), OF Mike O'Neill (.563, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 13 G), OF Tommy Pham (.154, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 12 G) and OF Chris Swauger (.296, 13 HR, 60 RBI, 85 G). Swauger provided numerous postseason heroics during the Championship run, including three home runs in the Cards extra innings victory in Game 1 against the Tulsa Drillers. He then robbed rehabbing Colorado Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki with a diving catch in the clinching Game 4 victory against Tulsa despite injuring himself on the play, helping send Springfield to the finals.
Butler, along with returning RHP Michael Blazek and RHP Kevin Thomas, all were key contributors to the Championship run by each providing scoreless relief throughout the entire postseason. Also back for 2013 will be RHP Scott Gorgen, who went 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA through two playoff starts and registered the win in the Championship clinching game in Frisco, and RHP Boone Whiting, who dealt 7.0 one-hit, one-run innings in the Division Series clinching win against Tulsa.
Former Major League INF Ruben Gotay headlines the crop of new Cardinals this year. The 30 year-old native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico spent four seasons in the big leagues with the Kansas City Royals (2004-05), the New York Mets (2007) and the Atlanta Braves (2008). Gotay has played the past three seasons at the AAA level, including the 2010 campaign in the Cardinals system with the Memphis Redbirds.
Joining Gotay will be fellow first-time Cardinals INF Jake Lemmerman, INF Luis Mateo and INF Starlin Rodriguez. In 2012, Rodriguez suited up in 114 games for Palm Beach, hitting .300 with 8 home runs, 48 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Lemmerman, who was acquired in the December trade that sent Skip Schumacher to the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit .233 with seven home runs, 29 doubles and 46 RBIs with the Chattanooga Lookouts (AA) last year, and Mateo spent the 2012 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits, formerly the Low-A Affiliate of the Cardinals, and hit .257 with 12 home runs, 64 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 113 games.
The Preliminary Roster features five former top 10 round draft picks - RHP Seth Blair (1st round supplemental, 2010), RHP Jordan Swagerty (2nd round, 2010), Gorgen (4th round, 2008), LHP Anthony Ferrara (7th, 2008) and RHP Deryk Hooker (7th round, 2007). Additionally, three players on the Preliminary Roster are featured on MLB.com's Top 20 Prospects for the St. Louis system - Blazek (#13), Swagerty (#15) and Gorgen (#16).
The regular season begins for the Cardinals on the road against the Corpus Christi Hooks on Thursday, April 4. The Hammons Field opener is just 10 days away on Thursday, April 11, and will feature the Great Southern Bank Magnet Schedule Giveaway (5,000 fans), the AM Pyrotechnics Fireworks Kick-Off Show and will be a Johnsonville "Buck a Brat" Night with bratwursts for just a buck! First Pitch is 7:09 p.m. against Corpus Christi with gates opening at 6:09 p.m.
For information about becoming a Season Ticket Holder, the brand-new Premium Packs (only 100 available), the custom-designed Championship Packs (only 100 available) or ordering Individual Game Tickets right now, call the Front Office at (417) 863-0395 or visit SpringfieldCardinals.com.
ESCAPE TO CARDINALS BASEBALL!