Siegrist and Castillo among Cards moving up

Kevin Siegrist: One step from St. Louis

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals made aggressive roster moves to push younger prospects ahead of older veterans on the roster of the first-place Triple-A Memphis Redbirds.

In with the new for Triple-A Memphis as right-handed starting pitcher Richard Castillo and left-handed reliever Kevin Siegrist were promoted from Double-A Springfield on Friday.

Castillo
Castillo, 23, first reached Springfield in 2011 and has bounced back and forth between Double-A and Palm Beach since. In 2013, the Venezuelan native went 4-3 with a 3.31 ERA (19 earned runs in 51 2/3 innings pitched) and logged 27 strikeouts against 15 walks in nine starts for the Texas League Cardinals.

Siegrist, 23, began his season in St. Louis Cardinals spring training camp as a member of the 40-man roster. One of the most impressive relievers in the system this season, the 41st-round draft pick in 2007 logged a 2.25 ERA (five earned runs in 20 innings pitched) and one save. The Cardinal Nation's 22nd-ranked prospect for 2013 amassed a whopping 35 strikeouts against seven walks in 13 outings for Springfield.

The two will be making their Triple-A debuts.

To make room for the pair of pitchers on the Memphis roster, catcher J.R. Towles and pitcher Barret Browning were given their unconditional release by the organization.

Towles, 29, had been signed by the Cardinals as a minor league free agent in January. The former number one prospect in the Houston organization spent 2012 with Minnesota's Triple-A Rochester club after being with the Astros for parts of the 2007-2011 seasons.

With the Redbirds this season, the right-handed hitter posted a line of .237/.366/.576. In 59 at-bats over 19 Pacific Coast League games, Towles hit five home runs and drove in 14. Other catchers on the Redbirds roster are Rob Johnson and Travis Tartamella.

Browning, 28, had been selected by the Cardinals in the minor league phase of the 2011 Rule 5 draft from the Angels system. The Georgia native was one of Memphis' most reliable relievers last season with a 1.75 ERA and was the club's representative in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

Browning was unable to participate because he was added to the 40-man roster and promoted to St. Louis in June. The left-hander made 22 appearances with the Cardinals, logging a 5.12 ERA and four holds, but was removed from the 40-man in January.

This season with Memphis, Browning did not fare as well as in 2012. PCL batters logged a .312 batting average against him as his ERA sat at 4.58.

To bring Memphis' active roster to full capacity at 25 players, infielder Greg Garcia was activated from the disabled list on Friday. The 23-year-old was a non-roster invitee to major league camp this spring and is The Cardinal Nation's 16th-ranked prospect for 2013.

Placed on the DL on May 11, the left-handed hitter is batting .250 (21-for-84) with six doubles and six RBI in 29 games. Before his injury, Garcia was red hot, going 7-for-11 (.636) while logging a five-game hitting streak.

Defensively for Memphis, Garcia will re-enter the shortstop-third base mix with Ryan Jackson and Jermaine Curtis.

To replace the two pitchers, Springfield received one hurler and an outfielder in return.

Friday morning, we reported the promotion of left-handed starting pitcher Ryan Sherriff from Palm Beach to Springfield. He will likely assume the rotation spot of Scott McGregor, who moved up to Memphis earlier this week.

In addition, Springfield activated Tommy Pham from the seven-day disabled list on Friday. The centerfielder was placed on the DL on May 13 due to oblique strain on his left side.

The Cardinal organization's system-wide Player of the Month for April was among Texas League leaders when injured, with a .314 batting average and a .610 slugging percentage. The 25-year-old speedster has both six triples and six home runs and has contributed 26 runs batted in.

The Double-A Cards also have another strong centerfielder on the roster in 2012 first-round pick James Ramsey.

Both Springfield and Palm Beach are currently one pitcher short with 24 players on their respective active rosters.

In other news, left-handed reliever Josh Renfro was released by the organization from extended spring training camp. The 23-year-old, signed as a non-drafted free agent last June, had been on the roster of the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. The former College of Charleston hurler spent much of his rookie season below level in the Gulf Coast League, where he posted a 0.36 ERA.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

© 2013 The Cardinal Nation, thecardinalnation.com and stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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