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Nick Punto makes three Cardinals infielders on the disabled list

May 18, 2011, 6:52 PM EDT

Carlos Ruiz, Nick Punto AP

Scrappy utilityman Nick Punto was placed on the disabled list for a second time this season Wednesday, this time because of a strained forearm.

Punto missed the first three weeks of the season following hernia surgery.  Because of injuries throughout the St. Louis infield, he had played pretty regularly since returning on April 20 and he was hitting .262/.355/.385 in 65 at-bats.  That’d be a career-high .740 OPS for the long-time Twin if he could keep it up.

Replacing Punto on the roster and making his major league debut is 2007 first-round pick Pete Kozma.  The 23-year-old Kozma, known strictly for his fine defense at shortstop, was hitting just .220/.284/.284 in 141 at-bats for Triple-A Memphis.  He had 31 strikeouts and no homers in 38 games.

Bypassed again was third baseman Matt Carpenter.  Carpenter appeared to make a strong impression on the Cardinals this spring, but the team declined to give him a try when either Skip Schumaker (elbow) or David Freese (hand) landed on the disabled list and he went unselected again now despite an OPS 250 points higher than Kozma’s.

Schumaker figures to be the first one to return out of the three injured infielders.  Tyler Greene, who was sharing time with Punto at second base, will get most of the starts there for now.

  1. spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    I cannot say that I have the inside scoop on Kozma, just his stats, but playing at a couple of stops in the minors, he managed to produce 34 errors in both 2009 and 2010. Maybe he has the range of a gazelle, a howitzer of an arm, and an on going feud with scorekeepers throughout the minors, but it is hard to explain away 68 errors in the past two season. It should also be noted that he is 8 for his last 17, raising his average to the .220 mark with 7 doubles and 1 triple to his credit for all of 2011.

    Lightning fast on the bases perhaps? In 157 plate appearances at AAA Memphis he has as yet to steal a base. Call me crazy, but from where I sit this is more a validation of the 18th overall pick in 2007, than a justified call up.

    • Matthew Pouliot - May 18, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      Pretty much. Though it is fair to mention (and I could have in the article) that the 40-man is full and Kozma was already on it, while Carpenter isn’t.

    • spudchukar - May 18, 2011 at 8:09 PM

      Good point about the 40-man roster, why Kozma is on it, this being his first year in AAA is another matter.

      • jwbiii - May 19, 2011 at 5:41 AM

        To protect him the Rule 5 draft is the usual suspect.

  2. sknut - May 18, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Punto on DL, it must be a day that ends in ‘Y’

  3. thefalcon123 - May 19, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    Kozma is only up because he is literally the *only* Cardinals infielder (with the exception of 2010 1st round pick Zack Cox) on the 40 man roster who isn’t already up with the Cards or on the DL.

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