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Friday, June 6, 2008

Cards promote righthander Boggs from Memphis

Cards promote righthander Boggs from Memphis
By Derrick Goold

Cardinals pitcher Mitchell Boggs throws during a Florida workout in February.
(Chris Lee/P-D)

One start removed from a complete-game victory against the Chicago Cubs' affiliate, Cardinals pitching prospect Mitchell Boggs' next appearance will be in the major leagues.

The Cardinals have promoted the righthander and expect Boggs to join the team tonight in Houston. The move was made after Thursday's doubleheader taxed the bullpen of available arms and Mike Parisi struggled in his second consecutive major-league start.

Parisi was optioned to Memphis to make roster space for Boggs, 24, who will be the eighth rookie to make his major-league debut for the Cards. He will wear uniform No. 68.

Once a quarterback in college, Boggs ditched football after just a couple rushes and went to Georgia to pursue a pitching career. He steadily climbed the ranks of the Cardinals' minor-league system and was always something of a favorite among the minor-league instructors.

Mark Riggins, the Cardinals former pitching coordinator, lauded Boggs as far back as 2006, telling a reporter that the righthander's easy motion and choice of pitches was going to put him in the majors on time.

Boggs' slider was also mentioned by scouts and officials as the kind of pitch that could make him an effective reliever -- and a few felt that his future at the major-league level was pitching setup for Chris Perez.

His present is the ace of the Class AAA staff.

Boggs is 5-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 12 starts for the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate Memphis. He has struck out 44 and walked 24 in 71 1/3 innings pitched. In a telling statistical category for minor-league pitchers, Boggs has allowed fewer hits (59) than innings (71 1/3), something only a few Cardinals' minor-league starters could say two seasons ago.

Boggs is unbeaten on the road, going 4-0 in seven starts. In the complete-game shutout of the Iowa Cubs, Boggs struck out five and allowed five hits.

Earlier this season, he had a 10-strikeout game against Oklahoma, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing two hits in a no decision.

Boggs was selected in the fifth round of the 2005 player draft. When he makes his debut he will be the first member of that draft -- headlined by outfielder Colby Rasmus and catcher Bryan Anderson -- to reach the majors.

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