Cardinals tell Pete Kozma to “strap on catching equipment”

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Pete Kozma went from being the Cardinals’ starting shortstop to an afterthought once the clock struck midnight and turned him back into light-hitting pumpkin, and now he might be learning to catch.

Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has told Kozma and fellow utility infielder candidate Greg Garcia “to strap on catching equipment, whether it be in batting practice, or even a game.”

For now Matheny is simply trying to find an emergency catcher option behind starter Yadier Molina and backup Tony Cruz. Daniel Descalso had been the emergency catcher, but now he’s with the Rockies.

Hummel notes that Kozma is also likely to see some time in the outfield this spring, as he basically tries to do anything possible to look more appealing to the Cardinals as a potential bench player.

Angels release Matt Harvey

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Among several transactions made on Sunday, the Angels announced that pitcher Matt Harvey has been released. The right-hander was designated for assignment on Friday.

Harvey, 30, was hoping to bounce back with the Angels after signing a one-year, $11 million contract in December. It didn’t work out. In 12 starts spanning 59 2/3 innings, Harvey allowed 47 earned runs on 63 hits and 29 walks with 39 strikeouts. Harvey missed time between May 24 and July 12 with an upper back injury.

Since his 2015 campaign with the Mets, after recovering from Tommy John surgery, Harvey has a 5.65 ERA in exactly 400 innings. Given his age, he could still find an opportunity with another team short on pitching depth, but he is running out of leash, as they say.