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With two weeks to go, Cardinals cut a total of nine

JUPITER, Fla. • Two of them had never been in major-league camp before despite a long time in the Cardinals organization, and the third was a far different player when he returned to the big league clubhouse for spring training.

All three left a favorable impression before leaving.

The Cardinals optioned outfielder Anthony Garcia to Class AAA Memphis on Sunday, and they reassigned first baseman Jonathan Rodriguez and third baseman Patrick Wisdom to minor-league camp. The moves bring the total cuts Sunday to nine players. Previously in the day, the Cardinals optioned Aledmys Diaz and Dean Anna and reassigned four others to the minor-league side.

Garcia led the team in doubles during his time in the major-league clubhouse, and manager Mike Matheny referred to him as "one of the bigger surprises" of camp. Matheny worked with Garcia years ago when the younger Cardinal was a catcher and trying to find a place in the organization.

Garcia is expected to be one of the depth outfielders playing in Memphis.

Wisdom used this spring to reassert his place in the organization. The gifted third baseman was left available in the Rule 5 draft, and there were no takers. He came to spring training as a non-roster invite, though he intended to build on the work he did last season with his swing. Wisdom has had erratic results offensively in the minors, though he continues to show legit power potential. There was more of that in spring training this year.

Matheny called him a "much, much improved player."

Rodriguez, who has already had a significant influence on the major-league club without playing an inning in the majors, went one-for-two in Sunday's loss and left the big-league team with a .318 average this spring. He'll likely rise to Class AAA Memphis this season and be a fixture at the corner.

The Cardinals are down to 41 players in camp.

The Cardinals open the season two weeks from Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Also ... Matheny will not be with the team Monday as the Cardinals host Boston. The Cardinals' manager is returning to his family's home in West Virginia to attend memorial services for his grandmother on his mother's side. He will return to the team Wednesday after Tuesday's off day.  

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