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Cards' international options limited by restrictions

Likely not in play for top talent; Fowler placed on paternity list, O'Neill called up
MLB.com @LangoschMLB

ST. LOUIS -- Handcuffed with spending restrictions for a second straight year, the Cardinals are not expected to be in play for any of the top talent that will become available when Major League Baseball's international signing period opens on Monday.

Because their spending exceeded their bonus pool during the 2016-17 signing period, the Cardinals are restricted from giving out any bonuses exceeding $300,000 over the next year. The Cardinals have been allocated a total bonus pool of $5,004,500.

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ST. LOUIS -- Handcuffed with spending restrictions for a second straight year, the Cardinals are not expected to be in play for any of the top talent that will become available when Major League Baseball's international signing period opens on Monday.

Because their spending exceeded their bonus pool during the 2016-17 signing period, the Cardinals are restricted from giving out any bonuses exceeding $300,000 over the next year. The Cardinals have been allocated a total bonus pool of $5,004,500.

View Full Game Coverage

The club can split that into a series of smaller bonuses and/or utilize it as leverage in potential trades. Teams are permitted to trade as much of their international bonus pool as they'd like.

Top 30 international prospects

A foreign player becomes eligible to sign once they turn 17 or if they will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract. Those who are 25 years or older and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are exempt from these spending restrictions.

On the mend

The Cardinals still anticipate having shortstop Paul DeJong (left hand surgery) and reliever Matt Bowman (right finger blisters) join them on this upcoming road trip, but it will not be during the team's series in Arizona.

Playing in his second Triple-A rehab game on Saturday, DeJong went 1-for-2 with a single and a strikeout before Memphis' game in Iowa was suspended due to weather. He is scheduled to sit Sunday, then play full games with Memphis on Monday and Tuesday before returning to St. Louis to be reevaluated, general manager Michael Girsch confirmed.

If all goes well, DeJong could be activated from the disabled list during the Cardinals' four-game series in San Francisco, which begins Thursday.

Video: STL@SD: DeJong belts a 3-run homer to left-center

Girsch said that Bowman will also need a few more appearances before the club will consider him ready to return to the bullpen. After throwing a scoreless inning on Friday, Bowman allowed one run on two hits in an inning of work Sunday. He struck out one while throwing 20 pitches.

Joining Bowman in the Memphis bullpen for the next week will be Luke Gregerson, whose rehab assignment with the team began with a scoreless inning on Sunday. Gregerson, who last pitched for the Cardinals on May 15, has been recovering from a shoulder injury and knee surgery. He threw seven of his nine pitches for strikes and struck out two Sunday.

Baby news

Instead of joining the club on its flight to Arizona, Dexter Fowler remained in St. Louis, where his wife was preparing to give birth to the couple's second child. Fowler will be placed on the paternity list and plans to rejoin the club in San Francisco on Thursday. The Cardinals will fill his roster spot in Arizona with outfielder Tyler O'Neill.

O'Neill is coming off a month in which he slashed .282/.409/.592 and posted a 1.001 OPS with Memphis. He has had two prior stints with the big league team. In his last one, O'Neill homered in three straight games but also struck out 13 times in his final 19 at-bats.

Worth noting

• Asked about Luke Weaver's hold on a rotation spot, manager Mike Matheny said the club intends to have the right-hander make his next start as scheduled. That will come Thursday in San Francisco.

• With Tommy Pham hitless in his last 29 at-bats, Matheny said that giving Pham a series of days off is "certainly an option and something we've talked about, too." If the Cardinals were to do so, they'd shift Harrison Bader to center field.

"[You] realize that Tommy is always just one click away, but sometimes you have to make some adjustments and do some things outside the norm to get somebody where they need to be," Matheny said.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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