The Cardinals have released left-hander Ricardo Sanchez and right-hander Jesus Cruz. Neither hurler pitched in the majors in 2021, as Sanchez was recovering from Tommy John surgery and Cruz spent the season at the Cards’ alternate training camp in April and then with Triple-A Memphis.
Both pitchers made their MLB debuts in 2020, with Sanchez getting a slightly longer look in the Show. Sanchez pitched 5 1/3 innings over three appearances with St. Louis, while Cruz was up in pure “cup of coffee” form with one inning of work in a single game.
Sanchez’s debut season was also set back by a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, as he was one of many Cardinals players caught up in an outbreak that ravaged the roster. The southpaw was also sidelined by elbow problems in August that eventually resulted in the TJ procedure in October 2020. Going by the normal 12-15 month Tommy John recovery timeline, Sanchez should be ready to pitch again, though it isn’t known if he experienced any setbacks in his rehab.
Sanchez is a veteran of seven pro seasons, mostly spent in the Braves’ farm system. The left-hander has a 4.52 ERA over 517 1/3 career innings in the minors, though he had gradually improved the control issues that plagued him in his early days.
Cruz was an international signing for the Cardinals in the 2017-18 July 2 class, spending some time in the Mexican League before joining the Cards organization. Cruz posted a 3.90 ERA over 210 minor league innings, amassing a strong 29.86% strikeout rate, but with a high 13.38% walk rate. Troublingly, Cruz’s control issues have gotten worse as he has worked his way up the minor league ladder.