Cards add two minor leaguers in Rule 5 Draft

Infielder Matt Cerda

The St. Louis Cardinals added an infielder and a left-handed pitcher in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. They also lost catcher Steven Hill.

The impending addition of lefty Randy Choate meant the St. Louis Cardinals would have needed to drop a player from their 40-man roster had they made a selection in the Major League phase of Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. They ended up passing. In addition, no Cardinal placed on the Memphis roster was among the 15 players changing homes in the Major League phase.

Lefty Jay Voss
In the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft, the Cardinals were busy, however, taking two players and losing one.

They first selected infielder Matt Cerda from the Chicago Cubs' Double-A roster, followed by left-handed pitcher Jay Voss, most recently with Detroit's Double-A club. Neither has yet played a game at the Triple-A level.

In addition, the Cardinals lost catcher Steven Hill, who had been placed on the Springfield roster for purposes of Rule 5, to Oakland.

Cerda, 22, was selected by the Cubs in the fourth round of the 2008 draft as a California high school shortstop and signed for a reported $500,000. Primarily playing at second base and third base since, the 5-foot-9, 165-pounder can also work behind the plate.

The left-handed hitter moved up from A-Advanced to Double-A during 2012, posting a .749 OPS at Tennessee of the Southern League. Cerda was a 2011 Florida State League all-star selection.

Voss, 25, first reached Double-A in 2009, when he was still in Florida's system. The Marlins had drafted him in the eighth round in 2007 from Kaskaskia College in Illinois. The Breese, Illinois native moved to Detroit in a trade for Nate Robertson during spring training 2010.

After starting in 2007 and 2008, the 6-foot-4, 195-pounder moved to the pen for the next two seasons before returning to starting during the last two years. However, Voss threw just 10 1/3 innings in 2012 due to Tommy John elbow surgery. Between A-Advanced and Double-A, he went 12-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 2011.

Mark Anderson of our sister site, TigsTown.com, notes that Voss' fastball sits 90-92 mph, and can get up to 93. He has a decent breaking ball and command of both pitches.

Hill
By the Cards placing Hill on the Double-A roster, they made it clear the 27-year-old was not a part of their long-term catching plans. He had been removed from the 40-man roster for a second time in November. Hill was originally selected in the 13th round of the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft.

Hill made his MLB debut in 2010, but was outrighted that November. After an injury-plagued 2011, Hill was returned to the 40-man this past summer. He played in six MLB games in late May and early June, then was recalled from Memphis to St. Louis on September 10, playing a bench role over the final three weeks.

The right-handed hitter appeared in 87 games at Memphis this season, batting .266 with 17 home runs and 52 RBI. Hill ranked second on the Redbirds in home runs and third in RBI. In the field, the versatile slugger started games at first base (29), third base (20), outfield (17) and catcher (10) for the Redbirds. Hill missed almost a month due to a left foot injury suffered during the first week of the season.

Remember that players taken in the minor league phase do not have to be returned to their former organization no matter where they are assigned in 2013. In other words, Cerda and Voss are likely to remain with the Cards, probably competing for jobs with Triple-A Memphis, while Hill will not be coming back.

To see the entire Cardinals system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.

In this and all articles at The Cardinal Nation, click on highlighted players' names to be taken to their player profile pages, where a wealth of career information is archived, much of it subscriber-exclusive.

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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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