Brian Barton has rejoined the Cardinals, but is has not yet been activated.
Technically, the Cardinals could keep him on the disabled list the rest of the season and retain his rights, after choosing him in this past off-season’s Rule 5 Draft. While I doubt the Cardinal management would go that far just to keep him while letting him sit and watch, they are still gaming the system here to a certain extent.
I would expect Barton to return within the next week or so. The Cardinals have a favorable schedule in the coming weeks, with enough off days that they should be able to carry one less pitcher.
Who would go down to activate Barton? Not to mention – what roster move will be made once Adam Wainwright returns from his rehab assignment?
I could see the Cardinals doing one of two things here – I suspect that unless they get an absolute vote of confidence on his shoulder, Chris Carpenter could get sent back on the disabled list, possibly for the rest of the season. That might be a move to make room for Waino later on though, after they have exhausted all of their options of “rest” for Carp.
I expect that Joe Mather could be the Memphis casualty once Barton is activated. Despite finally seeming comfortable at the plate against big-league pitching and starting to really show some of the power that we saw from him in Memphis, Mather is seemingly the odd-man out in the Cardinal outfield, especially as LaRussa continues to use Felipe Lopez in left field.
I still think that long-term, Barton may be trade bait for the Cards, but for now he’s not a bad guy to have around. His element of speed is something the Redbirds certainly lack.
Ultimately, this will only be a two-and-a-half week problem anyway, as I fully expect all of these guys to be with the big club come September 1.