Cards offer 20 non-roster invites

Cards offer 20 non-roster invites

ST. LOUIS -- If you're into omens, you have to like Colby Rasmus' chances of making the Cardinals' Opening Day roster -- not to mention Brett Wallace's long-term prognosis.

Rasmus and Wallace were the top names on the Cardinals' list of non-roster invitees to Major League Spring Training, which the club released on Friday. In total, 20 players received NRIs, 17 from within the system and three players who signed as Minor League free agents.

But as much as the names, sometimes numbers are telling in Spring Training. And that's where Rasmus might be feeling pretty good right now. He was the only NRI to receive a "baseball number" -- that is, a jersey number lower than 59. Rasmus was assigned No. 28, the sort of number you see in St. Louis in April, rather than just in Jupiter, Fla., in March.

As for Wallace, the Cards' top pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, he inherits the No. 84 that Rasmus wore the past two springs. And once Rasmus is a Major Leaguer, Wallace will also inherit Rasmus' status as the top prospect in the organization.

In total, the Cardinals invited eight pitchers, six catchers, four infielders and two outfielders to camp. Headlining the pitchers are the organization's 2008 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Jess Todd, and former No. 1 Draft pick Adam Ottavino. They'll be joined by Tyler Herron, Clayton Mortensen, Ian Ostlund, Fernando Salas, Francisco Samuel, and P.J. Walters.

Catchers receiving NRIs were Bryan Anderson, Tony Cruz, Luis De La Cruz, Steve Hill, Justin Knoedler and Matt Pagnozzi. The non-roster infielders in camp will be Allen Craig, David Freese, Joe Thurston, and Wallace, while Rasmus and Jon Jay are the only outfielders on the NRI list.

St. Louis will have a total of 55 players in Spring Training.

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