The Cardinals announced today that Chris Perez, the favorite to be the team closer at the beginning of the spring, has been demoted to Class AAA Memphis.
Perez struggled with arm troubles that kept him on the shelf in the middle of the Grapefruit League pre season. But he was also a victim of the success of competitor Jason Motte who baffled spring hitters with his 98 MPH fastball and a new breaking pitch.
The Cardinals opted to keep Brad Thompson on the roster over Perez because of his ability to pitch several innings -- a valuable commodity to have around early in the season when starters aren't conditioned to pitch deep into games.
In Memphis Perez will have the opportunity to close games instead of being a middle reliever in the big leagues.
Ryan Franklin, Kyle McClellan, Josh Kinney, Dennys Reyes and Trever Miller will join Motte and Thompson in the bullpen.