Cleto, Chambers optioned as Cards set roster

Cleto, Chambers optioned as Cards set roster

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- There were two buses leaving Tradition Field after the Cardinals' 7-2 loss to the Mets on Friday. One was taking the members of the Opening Day roster to the airport to board a flight for Arizona, where the team starts its season on Monday. The other carried players who aren't leaving town just yet.

Though manager Mike Matheny had told players of the team's roster intentions earlier this week, the team finalized those moves after its last spring game. In order to get the roster from 31 down to 25, the Cardinals optioned right-hander Maikel Cleto and outfielder Adron Chambers to Triple-A Memphis. Non-roster invitees Oscar Taveras, Rob Johnson and Greg Garcia were reassigned to Minor League camp.

Jason Motte, as expected, was placed on the disabled list, where he will join David Freese (lower back inflammation), Chris Carpenter (thoracic outlet syndrome) and Rafael Furcal (elbow surgery).

That leaves the Cardinals' Opening Day roster as follows:

Starting pitchers: Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook, Shelby Miller.

Relief pitchers: Mitchell Boggs, Randy Choate, Joe Kelly, Edward Mujica, Trevor Rosenthal, Marc Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas.

Catchers: Yadier Molina, Tony Cruz.

Infielders: Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Allen Craig, Daniel Descalso, Ryan Jackson, Pete Kozma, Ty Wigginton.

Outfielders: Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Shane Robinson.

As for those who were sent to Minor League camp on Friday, Cleto will fit into Memphis' bullpen, while Chambers will get everyday playing time across the outfield. Taveras will play all three outfield positions, as well, though Matheny has requested that the 20-year-old top prospect get a large volume of focused work in left field.

"Left field, he wasn't too good with the angles, the balls off the bat," Matheny said. "I encouraged him in batting practice, too, to make sure he gets over into left field and spends as much time working there as well as where he's most comfortable, in right. He needs work all the way around, but I think some additional work in left field is going to be beneficial to him."

Garcia has climbed through the Cardinals' system as a middle infielder, though the Cards would like to also see him get work at third base. The organization continues to groom many of its Minor League infielders to be versatile in case a need arises at the Major League level at any number of positions.

Johnson joins J.R. Towles, who was sent out of camp earlier this month, as Memphis' catching tandem. The Cardinals are pleased to have a pair of catchers with previous Major League experience in Triple-A, given the presence of some top pitching talent in that Triple-A rotation.

"I think it's that big of a deal," Matheny said. "You have two guys that have a real great work ethic, the understanding of a game plan, the understanding of what it takes in the big leagues. Those things are valuable in their development."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.