The St. Louis Cardinals have (finally) made a move to improve their bench.
The team announced Friday afternoon that it has called up Class AAA shortstop Greg Garcia and first baseman Xavier Scruggs.
To make room on the active roster, the Birds demoted relief pitcher Mitch Harris and third-string catcher Ed Easley.
The Cardinals rarely used Harris or fellow bullpenners Carlos Villanueava and Marco Socolovich in the last couple of weeks. But to carry extra pitchers on the roster, they’ve been shorthanded on the bench.
On Thursday in Minnesota, with Yadier Molina serving as designated hitter, St. Louis was left with the unimposing bench of Jon Jay, back-up catcher Tony Cruz and Easley. None of those fellas is going to strike fear into an opposing manager when he strides to the plate as a pinch hitter late in a game.
This is Scruggs’ second trip to St. Louis this year. Hopefully, this time he’ll have a little bit more opportunity to make an impact than the one plate appearance he managed previously.
Scruggs had 18 appearances in the big leagues last year, hitting .200 with one double and two RBIs. He was hitting .251 with 11 homers for the Cardinals’ top minor league affiliate before the call-up.
This is Garcia’s first major league action of the 2015 campaign. He hit .143 in 18 plate appearances last year.
Garcia was hitting .313 with 10 doubles and nine stolen bases in 11 tries in Memphis. He has a .405 on-base percentage with 36 strikeouts and 31 walks in 250 plate appearances.
It’s unclear where Garcia will find playing time. In addition to playing shortstop he plays second base. But both spots are occupied at the MLB level by productive players, Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong.
Scruggs could find some time at first base. But like Mark Reynolds, currently playing the spot in relief of injured starter Matt Adams, he’s right-handed.
It would help the St. Louis bench -- and probably help Reynolds’ statistics -- if he were able to return to his intended role as a righty power source off the St. Louis bench. But I’m not sure the Cardinals could afford to replace Reynolds as the starter with Scruggs when the team is struggling so much to score runs.
I find it doubtful that a .251-hitting minor leaguer is going to out-shine a player who is hitting .253 in the majors.
Scruggs just doesn’t have enough MLB experience to be expected to make a huge contribution as a starter.