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Cardinals promote Zack Cox to Class AA Springfield

Cardinals 2010 first round draft choice Zack Cox has taken a huge step up the organizational ladder.

The team announced Wednesday that the slugging third baseman has been promoted from Advanced Class A in Jupiter, Fla. to Class AA Springfield, Mo.

Many scouts and baseball people will tell you that Class AA baseball is where you separate the men from the boys. So this is a big move. And it came quicker that many expected.

The 22 year old played only four games last season in rookie league, batting .400 with a double and an RBI in 15 at bats.

Cox started 2011 in Jupiter and was batting .335 with three homers and 20 batted in after 42 games in the pitcher friendly Florida State League. According to a report in the Springfield News-Leader, he has made great strides in improving his hitting and his questionable defense at the hot corner.

"It's a credit to Zack's hard work, as well as his manager, Luis Aguayo, and hitting coach Jeff Albert," St. Louis farm director John Vuch told the News-Leader. "He improved in the last few weeks as he began turning with authority on pitches on the inner half instead of 'inside-outing' them, which enabled him to start picking up some extra-base hits.

"He'll be facing tougher competition and undoubtedly will have adjustments to make at times," Vuch continued. "But we feel he'll be capable of handling himself fine at this level."

Cox, a sophomore at the University of Arkansas when he was selected by the Cardinals, signed a deal worth $3.2 million that included a spot on the 40-man roster in order to give up his remaining college eligibility.