ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have begun offseason housekeeping, clearing four players off of their 40-man roster. Heading the list was the release of right-hander Brad Thompson, who had pitched for St. Louis since 2005.
The Blue Jays claimed infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir when the Cardinals attempted to send him outright to Triple-A Memphis, while pitcher Matt Scherer and infielder Joe Thurston were outrighted to Memphis. Thurston can elect to become a free agent rather than accepting the assignment.
Thompson's release means five players remain in the organization who played in the 2006 World Series win over Detroit. His role had diminished, and the club saw it as beneficial to both parties to go ahead and release him.
"We could have looked to see if there was potential to move him, taking it all the way to the tender date," general manager John Mozeliak said. "But in fairness to him, letting him have a chance to find a job was best."
Hoffpauir, 26, hit at nearly every level of the Minor Leagues but is considered a somewhat limited defensive player. He impressed the Cardinals by taking some quality at-bats in a limited stint in the Major Leagues in 2009. Still, opportunities were going to be limited for him.
Daniel Descalso is expected to start at second base at Memphis in 2010, and three middle-infield spots are already set on the Major League roster with Skip Schumaker, Brendan Ryan and Julio Lugo signed or under team control.
Thurston, 30, spent the full season in the Major Leagues for the first time in his professional career. However, he hit .225 with a .316 on-base percentage and .330 slugging percentage, and as with Hoffpauir, there wasn't much of an obvious place for him on the 2010 roster.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.