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Cards add Minor League arms to spring roster

Cards add Minor League arms to spring roster

JUPITER, Fla. -- With Jaime Garcia shut down indefinitely and Jose Almarante stuck in the Dominican Republic due to visa issues, the Cardinals have added pitchers Kurt Heyer and Boone Whiting to their Major League Spring Training roster.

Heyer and Whiting were among a select group of 24 Minor League players to report to Jupiter, Fla., on Friday for the organization's STEP (Spring Training Early Program) initiative. The two will still attend the off-the-field sessions scheduled for the STEP participants, but their workouts will be done alongside those in big league camp.

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This will also open up opportunities for Heyer and Whiting to make appearances in Grapefruit League games next month.

"We needed to cover some innings," general manager John Mozeliak said, "so we thought we would give them this opportunity."

Whiting finished 2013 in the Triple-A rotation, where he went 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA in 21 starts. He earned the promotion to Memphis after allowing 10 earned runs in 30 2/3 Double-A innings. Though the 24-year-old right-hander is not in camp to compete for a Major League roster spot, he is part of the starting pitching depth the Cardinals have at the upper Minor League levels.

In his first full professional season, Heyer, 23, split 2013 between the Cardinals' Class A clubs in Peoria (Ill.) and Palm Beach (Fla.). Heyer logged 124 innings in 23 combined appearances (22 starts), struck out 96, walked 34 and posted a 3.41 ERA.

With the additions of Heyer and Whiting, the Cardinals now have 60 players participating in Major League camp. That count includes Almarante and Garcia.

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.

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