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Cards option Weaver to Triple-A Memphis

Send reliever Harris to Minor League camp
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals cleared two more lockers in their big league clubhouse on Saturday by optioning starter Luke Weaver to Triple-A Memphis and reassigning reliever Mitch Harris to Minor League camp. The moves leave St. Louis with 51 players (including 16 non-roster invitees) in big league Spring Training.

Weaver, St. Louis' No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, entered camp with the opportunity to push himself into consideration for the fifth spot in the Cards' rotation. He never did. Weaver exited his second Grapefruit League appearance due to back tightness and was subsequently sidelined for the next 10 days.

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals cleared two more lockers in their big league clubhouse on Saturday by optioning starter Luke Weaver to Triple-A Memphis and reassigning reliever Mitch Harris to Minor League camp. The moves leave St. Louis with 51 players (including 16 non-roster invitees) in big league Spring Training.

Weaver, St. Louis' No. 3 prospect according to MLB.com, entered camp with the opportunity to push himself into consideration for the fifth spot in the Cards' rotation. He never did. Weaver exited his second Grapefruit League appearance due to back tightness and was subsequently sidelined for the next 10 days.

Upon returning, he wasn't sharp. Weaver gave up six runs over 2 1/3 innings and, perhaps most surprising given his usual pinpoint command, the right-hander walked six during that span. Rediscovering his command and improving efficiency will be points of emphasis for Weaver as he opens the season in the Triple-A rotation.

"It's amazing that as we have conversations with these young players, how often it's the same thing. It's the consistency," manager Mike Matheny said. "We gave him a pretty good idea of what it is that we'll be looking for to see him improve to the point where he could be around here for a long time."

Harris put himself back on the organization's radar, following a season missed due to injury. After undergoing right elbow surgery last summer and then coming off the Cardinals' 40-man roster in the fall, Harris' future with the club seemed uncertain. But after watching him throw a side session as part of his rehab program in February, the Cards thought he was deserving of a spot in Major League camp.

Harris, who made his Major League debut in 2015, made one Grapefruit League appearance this spring and allowed two runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals haven't announced where Harris will open the season, but he's likely a candidate for a spot in Memphis' bullpen.

"We had no idea what we were going to see," Matheny said. "It was obvious that the stuff, once again, was there. It's the same conversation there, too -- consistency in the zone. The fact that he is where he is, is pretty impressive."

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Mitch Harris, Luke Weaver