ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals on Monday claimed outfielder Rafael Ortega, formerly of the Texas Rangers, on waiver after Ortega was designated for assignment Dec. 30.
Ortega, 22, native of Venezuela, was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Colorado Rockies in 2008.
Ortega, a left-handed hitter, played five seasons in the Rockies' system before making his debut Sept. 30, 2012. He was 2-for-3 with a walk and a steal in a contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ortega played in only one other game.
Ortega played in 42 contests for Colorado's Class AA affiliate Tulsa in 2013, batting .228 with one home run and 10 RBIs. The speedster collected nine stolen bases in 13 attempts before a leg injury in June put an abrupt end to his campaign.
Ortega has played in 462 minor-league games, batting .298 with 26 home runs, 231 RBIs and 156 steals. He was claimed off waivers by the Rangers from the Rockies on Nov. 27. His time with Texas didn't last long, as the Rangers placed him on waivers Dec. 30.
St. Louis' 40-man roster stands at 39 after the transaction.