Not only did the Cardinals choose Pete Kozma over Ronny Cedeno to replace Rafael Furcal as their starting shortstop, they aren’t even keeping Cedeno as a bench player.
Cedeno, who has eight seasons and nearly 2,500 plate appearances of experience, was released today despite signing a one-year, $1.15 million contract in January.
Considering the Cardinals’ need for middle infield help following Furcal’s season-ending elbow surgery and the money they agreed to pay Cedeno less than two months ago they must really, really have thought he looked terrible in camp. And yet he hit .290 with a .791 OPS in 16 spring training games.
Daniel Descalso will likely be the backup middle infielder, opening the door for first baseman Matt Adams to make the team as a bench bat after years of crushing minor-league pitching.
The Rays acquired minor league reliever Drew Smith from the Tigers on Friday, per a team announcement. The move will close the loop on the trade the two teams began in January for backup outfielder Mikie Mahtook.
Smith, 23, pitched his first full season in Single-A West Michigan in 2016, turning in a 2.96 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.5 SO/9 in 48 2/3 innings. The right-hander is still several levels away from making any impact on the Rays’ major league roster, but appears to be progressing steadily in two seasons of pro ball and has delivered two runs, four walks and 12 strikeouts in his first 11 2/3 innings at High-A Lakeland this season. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that he’ll be reassigned to the Rays’ High-A Charlotte this week.
The Yankees have activated shortstop Didi Gregorius from the 10-day disabled list, the club announced on Friday. Infielder Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to clear roster space.
Gregorius, 27, suffered a strained right shoulder while playing in the World Baseball Classic last month. He’s in Friday’s starting lineup, batting sixth against the Orioles.
Last season, Gregorius hit .276/.304/.447 with 20 home runs and 70 RBI in 597 plate appearances.