Notes: Gall released
Bennett fully recovered, ready to start behind the plate
ST. LOUIS -- John Gall has been released by the Cardinals organization in order to pursue other opportunities. If Gall clears release waivers, the outfielder/first baseman will report to a Korean team for the remainder of this season.
"I believe his agent worked on the deal," general manager Walt Jocketty said on Tuesday. "I think the Korean club probably approached him and said they would be interested. It's an opportunity for him to make more money than here, even if he came back with us in September."
Gall was stalled at Triple-A Memphis for the better part of three full seasons, receiving a total of 49 Major League at-bats during his seven seasons with the Cardinals organization. It had become clear that a change of scenery would be good for the right-handed batter.
"It's an opportunity for him to bank a little money, and I'm sure he'll be a free agent at the end of the year," Jocketty said. "He may come back here and play in the States, or he may play over there.
"He still could [have been] a viable candidate to be a pinch-hitter in September, but we didn't want to stand in the way of him getting an opportunity."
Initially held back by questions about his fielding, Gall became a more capable fielder. Yet he never seemed to find the organization's favor, and he was passed on the organizational chart by Skip Schumaker and Chris Duncan. He was a Triple-A All-Star in 2004 and was rated as the Cardinals' sixth-best prospect by Baseball America after 2003.
Gall went 3-for-12 in a brief look in St. Louis earlier this year. He was batting .287 with a .361 on-base percentage and a .408 slugging percentage at Memphis in 2006.
Bennett returns: As expected, Gary Bennett made his return to the starting lineup on Tuesday. Bennett has been limited for three weeks as a result of a left oblique strain. He was pressed into service shortly before the All-Star break, when Yadier Molina sustained a concussion, then suffered a setback in his recovery, partly as a result of returning to play too soon.
Bennett said he's much further along than he was at that point. He started two games and played much of a third in Houston.
"Huge difference," he said. "I'm not feeling it at all. In Houston I was still bothered by it. After the first day, the second day it hurt a little worse and the third day it was even more aggravated."
Crossing Hudson: Manager Tony La Russa played the matchups in Tuesday's lineup, sitting Juan Encarnacion against Atlanta right-hander Tim Hudson. Encarnacion carries a 3-for-17 lifetime mark against the former Oakland hurler. In Encarnacion's absence, Duncan moved over to right field, while Scott Spiezio started in left. Spiezio entered the game 14-for-42 (.333) with four doubles against Hudson.
"Juan's had some trouble with this guy, and Scott's had success," La Russa said.
Minor matters: Nick Webber of high Class A Palm Beach was named the Florida State League's pitcher of the week for his three-hit, one-run complete game win over Daytona on Saturday. ... Right-hander Cory Meacham has been promoted from low Class A Quad Cities to Palm Beach. Meacham went 8-5 with a 3.16 ERA, 51 strikeouts, 29 walks and five homers allowed in 99 2/3 innings at Quad Cities.
This date in Cardinals history: On July 18, 2001, the Cardinals lost a truly wild game at what was then known as Enron Field. After falling behind the Astros, 6-1, the Cards rallied. After a six-run fifth, they led by an 8-6 count. But Houston met that with eight runs in the bottom half of the inning and went on to beat St. Louis, 17-11. Thanks to Project Retrosheet (www.retrosheet.org) for the information.
Baby 'Birds: Memphis was shut out again on Monday, this time by Round Rock in a 2-0 loss. John Webb allowed three hits and struck out five over seven shutout innings before the Express rallied against Memphis' bullpen. ... Double-A Springfield was off Monday. ... Colby Rasmus doubled, walked and drove in two runs, and Matt Shepherd had three hits, but Palm Beach lost, 5-4, to Daytona. ... Quad Cities scored its only run in the first inning, losing, 2-1, to Wisconsin in 12. Tyler Norrick pitched six solid innings, and Shane Robinson went 2-for-5 with a run. ... Donnie Smith allowed two earned runs and didn't issue a walk over six innings, but short-season State College lost, 7-3, to Staten Island. ... Brandon Buckman homered in rookie-level Johnson City's 11-3 loss to Elizabethton.
Player of the day: Webb, who certainly deserved better. The right-hander is 4-7 with a 4.38 ERA on the year. He's allowed just five home runs in 117 innings. Webb signed with the Cardinals as a Minor League free agent over the winter.
Coming up: The Cards wrap up their homestand, and their series against the Braves, with a 7:10 p.m. CT game on Wednesday. Chris Carpenter will take the mound for the home club, opposed by Jason Shiell, who will be making his first appearance for the Braves.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.