PITTSBURGH -- Needing to add another outfielder to the roster and unwilling to interrupt the development of their top prospects in Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals summoned right-handed-hitting Joey Butler to fill a bench spot on the Major League roster.
Butler joined the Cardinals in Pittsburgh on Friday, having earned the promotion after a torrid start with Memphis. He was ranked fifth in the Pacific Coast League with a .360 average and second with an on-base percentage of .481. Butler had 11 hits in 24 chances with runners in scoring position and four home runs, despite being a fourth outfielder on the roster.
With playing time prioritized for prospects Stephen Piscotty, Oscar Taveras and Randal Grichuk (before his stint in St. Louis), Butler started 14 games in left field and eight as a designated hitter. He was also not on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, though that was not an issue since the club was not already at its maximum.
"I was just trying to stay ready, hitting early. Just always be ready and anticipate going into the game," said Butler, who will wear No. 56. "I can only do so much. I won't be disappointed if I go out and play my hardest and it doesn't work out. Of course, I would love to stay, and the ultimate goal is to remain a Major League Baseball player. But there are some things that I can't control. I can only control what I can control. That's what I try to do."
Butler will come off the bench for the Cardinals, who are otherwise lacking a right-handed, pinch-hitting power threat. Butler's previous big league experience is minimal, though he did appear in eight games for the Rangers last season.
The Cardinals claimed Butler off waivers over the winter and kept him in big league camp until the end of Spring Training.
"I'm very excited," Butler said. "I said in Spring Training that this was one of the best groups I've been able to play with. I'm glad to be back with them."