Cardinals send five players to Minors camp

Cardinals send five players to Minors camp

JUPITER, Fla. -- As part of their first series of cuts on Saturday, the Cardinals sent five players to Minor League camp, reducing the number of big league Spring Training participants to 52.

Catcher Michael Ohlman, who is on the team's 40-man roster, was reassigned to Triple-A Memphis, where he's expected to begin the season. The Cardinals also reassigned right-hander Mike Mayers, left-hander John Gast, and catchers Steve Bean and Alberto Rosario.

The Cardinals opened camp with nine catchers so that they'd have enough to handle the high volume of early bullpen sessions during workouts. But with pitchers now getting the majority of their work in Grapefruit League games, there is not enough playing time to divide among them.

Nevertheless, the group of nine made a favorable impression on manager Mike Matheny, a former four-time Gold Glove winning catcher.

"This is one of the more impressive catching corps that I've seen us have in this organization of guys who really look like they're making improvements that could help us on later on," Matheny said. "Any one of those guys I wouldn't have had any issue throwing into one of our games."

Matheny specifically commended Bean for transforming his offensive game by adding body strength over the winter and Ohlman for implementing the receiving techniques that Matheny suggested to him early in workouts.

Gast continues to build up arm strength following July 2013 surgery to repair a tear in his left shoulder. He made two spring appearances and allowed four earned runs on four hits and one walk in 1 2/3 innings. The Cardinals still view him as part of their starting pitching depth, though Gast may have to build into that role this year.

"He's actually throwing a little better than I anticipated," Matheny said. "He needs to get his stuff sharp and keep moving in the right direction."

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