ST. LOUIS -- Just a little more than two months after agreeing to a $1.9 million signing bonus, Michael Wacha, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is headed to Double-A Springfield.
The promotion comes after Wacha dominated Class A Advanced competition at Palm Beach. In four relief appearances, Wacha allowed one hit, no runs and one walk in eight innings. He struck out 16 batters.
Wacha's professional start came in the Gulf Coast League, where the Cardinals wanted him to get his feet wet shortly after wrapping up his junior season at Texas A&M University. The right-hander pitched in three GCL games before joining Palm Beach.
Now, he's headed to Springfield, which has about two weeks of games remaining in its regular-season schedule.
"As far as the reasoning, it's partly due to the success he's had at Palm Beach already, and also a chance to expose him to the environment in Springfield," farm director John Vuch said. "In the role he's going to have this season, [we] felt he was ready to handle the next challenge."
Wacha, who is expected to eventually ascend to the Majors as a starter, is pitching in relief this summer in order to limit his workload. He'll continue to pitch about two innings every five days, as he was doing with Palm Beach. Before the Cardinals took him with the No. 19 overall pick in the Draft, Wacha threw 113 1/3 innings in collegiate competition.