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Punto goes to DL, Kozma called up

Cardinals infielder Nick Punto has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained elbow, according to the Cardinals.

He has been replaced on the active roster by shortstop Pete Kozma who was called up from Class AAA Memphis to make his major league debut.

Kozma, 23, was the Birds' first round draft pick in 2007. He was hitting .220 with 17 RBIs in 38 games this spring in Memphis. He batted .243 with 13 homers and 72 RBIs last year at Class AA Springfield.

The Cardinals assigned Kozma, who wore 38 in Class AAA, John Mabry's old number 47.

This is Punto's second stint on the DL since joining the Cardinals. He missed the first several weeks of the season with a sports hernia suffered early in spring training. The Redbirds have not given an estimate of how long he might be out. But the injury sounds very similar to the one that has sidelined Skip Schumaker for a month.

Punto is going to be a big loss because he has been the best fielder that Cardinals have deployed at second and third base this season. But, on the bright side, Schumaker is close to a return. He started a rehab assignment yesterday.