ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals made a pair of moves on Thursday, one long expected and one necessitated at the last minute.
As it had planned to do all week, the club reinstated catcher Gerald Laird from the 15-day disabled list prior to Thursday's game. To make room, Mark Hamilton was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. Additionally, the Cards optioned pitcher Brandon Dickson to Memphis and purchased the contract of pitcher P.J. Walters. To make room for Walters on the 40-man roster, pitcher Bryan Augenstein was designated for assignment.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the sequence was Hamilton being sent out. Instead of keeping the left-swinging first baseman, the Cardinals kept Tony Cruz on the roster as a third catcher. Cruz can also play first base and third base, and already has done so while in the big leagues.
"[We've] got a variety of ways to use [Cruz]," manager Tony La Russa said. "Plus he's done well. He's done a good job since he was here."
Walters was needed because of Wednesday night's 13-inning game in which the Cardinals used six relievers to pitch 8 2/3 innings. He was slated to start for Memphis at Round Rock on Thursday, but instead was notified late Wednesday night to come to St. Louis.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.