Minor League Report: Mark McCormick

Minors Report: Mark McCormick

JUPITER, Fla. -- With seven of the first 110 picks in the 2005 Draft, the Cardinals were able to take some risks. That Draft has already yielded some of the more interesting and promising players in the St. Louis farm system, but one of the team's highest picks from '05 has remained an enigma.

The club hopes that those days are coming to an end, and that Mark McCormick may soon join Colby Rasmus, Mitchell Boggs and Bryan Anderson on the list of well-regarded picks from '05.

McCormick had shoulder surgery following the 2006 season and made only four appearances in 2007. But as 2008 dawns, he's pitching with Double-A Springfield, throwing hard and catching eyes.

The Baylor prospect still needs to harness his control, but a resurgence from McCormick would be a huge boost to the organization. McCormick has made two starts this spring, allowing two runs on three hits in 4 2/3 innings with two strikeouts and five walks.

It's not where he needs to be, performance-wise. But mostly, where he needs to be is on the mound -- and he's accomplishing that.

Different plan: The Cardinals plan to stretch out some of their relievers at Triple-A Memphis this year, using them a little less often and for somewhat longer stints. Chris Perez and Jason Motte would probably be among the pitchers affected. The thought process is that if those pitchers are called up to the Major Leagues this year, they likely won't be used in short-relief roles. So it will be valuable to have them working longer outings in the Minors.

Another shot: One under-the-radar pitcher in Minor League camp is right-hander Bob Zimmerman. The reliever is a St. Louis native and was the closer for the Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri State) team that went to the College World Series in 2003. Zimmerman was drafted by the Angels before a brief stint in the Yankees system -- one game in 2007. He was released by New York and signed with the Cardinals organization.

On the move: Infielder Mike McCoy, 26, has been traded to the Orioles organization for future considerations. The move helps ease a middle-infield logjam at Memphis, where Jose Martinez, Brian Barden, Jarrett Hoffpauir, Rico Washington and perhaps D'Angelo Jimenez will all be vying for playing time.

Spring Training
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On the pine: Dewon Brazelton, sidelined early in camp due to shoulder trouble, made his Spring Training game debut this week with Memphis. John Wasdin, another hurler ticketed for Memphis, is still working his way back from shoulder difficulties.

He's No. 1: After a rough debut, 2007 first-rounder Pete Kozma has come on strong. Kozma is on a 5-for-13 (.385) run with a double, a walk and two runs scored.

Class of '07: David Kopp, a second-round pick in 2007, is off to an excellent start in his first Spring Training. Kopp attended the organization's second pitching minicamp this spring, and in two games thus far, he's been exceptional. Kopp, drafted out of Clemson, has pitched five shutout innings with two hits, three walks and eight strikeouts.

What they're saying: "It wouldn't surprise me if I saw either one of them in St. Louis [this year]." -- General manager John Mozeliak on Joe Mather and Rasmus, who were both sent to the Minors on Monday

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.