Thursday the St. Louis Cardinals continued the roster makeover they began by releasing Miguel Batista, promoting Raul Valdes from AAA Memphis and returning 22-year-old flamethrower Maikel Cleto to AA Springfield. Valdes, a 33-year-old Cuban defector whose circuitous path to the Major Leagues led him to make his debut with the New York Mets last year, struck out a batter an inning in 59 innings last year, but was left to sign a minor league contract with the Cardinals due to problems with home runs and walks. Compared to Trever Miller and Brian Tallet's intense struggles in the first three months of this season, that mustn't seem so bad to the Cardinals.
Valdes was, back in 2005, property of the Chicago Cubs, but his struggles in the high minors led him out of organized baseball until 2010, when the New York Mets brought him back for an audition and liked what they saw. Valdes had a reverse platoon split in his action last year, but he's got a classic lefty reliever repertoire, throwing predominantly a high-80s fastball and a loopy slider.