ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals made their final three September callups on Tuesday, and while merit certainly figured into the decisions, players weren't added strictly as a reward for good seasons. Instead, each of the three new arrivals could factor as a tactical option for manager Tony La Russa.
Outfielder Adron Chambers, who has never been in the Major Leagues before, offers speed and defense. Catcher Tony Cruz provides a pinch-hitting option, a quality defensive catcher and allows the Cardinals to substitute between their top two catchers more aggressively.
Only shortstop Tyler Greene figures to get any sort of extensive playing time, as the club ponders what to do about its starting shortstop job for 2011.
"To be used as needed," La Russa said of the callups. "They all have something they can do to help us. It depends on how the games will be played."
The three new additions join pitchers Brandon Dickson and Maikel Cleto and outfielder Shane Robinson as callups since Sept. 1, when Major League rosters are permitted to expand beyond 25 players. Only Chambers had not been in the Majors before.
"I'm with the greatest organization in the world," said Chambers, who entered Tuesday night's 4-2 win as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning. "Just being a part of that, to have my name on the back of a jersey, I'm trying to soak all that stuff in. Take it, do what I'm supposed to do, and make the most of it. ... I'm happy. You're probably going to see me smiling all day. I'm just trying to take it all in and have fun."
Infielder Punto returns from disabled list
ST. LOUIS -- In addition to Minor League callups, the Cardinals added a veteran to their active roster on Tuesday. Infielder Nick Punto was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list after missing nearly six weeks due to a strained left oblique muscle.
Punto, 33, made five Minor League rehabilitation appearances at Triple-A Memphis, going 3-for-15. The Minor League regular season ended on Monday, so Punto came up on Tuesday.
However, he said that even if the season hadn't ended, he wouldn't have needed any more time in Memphis.
"No, I'm good," he said. "I feel good."
Busch Stadium featured a slightly different look on the field on Tuesday. Two triangular cutouts were added to the infield dirt, just outside the baseline before runners reached first and third base. Bill Findley, the head Busch Stadium groundskeeper, explained that the cutouts were added because of extensive damage to the grass that had been in those spots -- a result of extreme heat and a great deal of wear from runners making their cuts at that very point.
Manager Tony La Russa acknowledged on Monday that concerns about the shadows at Busch Stadium in the late afternoon were legitimate, but strongly cautioned against making too much of the issue. Several Cardinals and Brewers players noted that it's extremely difficult to see in about the 4 o'clock hour at this time of year at Busch.
"There's something to it, but you're vulnerable talking about it because it's the same for both teams, No. 1," La Russa said. "And No. 2, you can point to games during the season where we played at 1 o'clock where we didn't score. And there's games at 3 o'clock where we did score. ... There is definitely an issue. Nobody disagrees that there's an issue. But you've just got to deal with it, man. And I don't know how much room there is to change it. That's a process I'm not familiar with."
La Russa said that he hopes to have reliever Eduardo Sanchez available "maybe for the last couple weeks" of the season. That would suggest that Sanchez might return to active duty sometime in mid-September. Sanchez has not pitched since June 12 due to a shoulder injury.
Triple-A Memphis' season came to an end on Monday with a 10-2 loss to Nashville. Mark Hamilton and Matt Carpenter had two hits each.
Double-A Springfield fell to Arkansas, 11-1, in its season finale. Zack Cox was 2-for-4 and Jermaine Curtis had two hits and a walk.
Class A Palm Beach's season came to an end on Sunday.
Class A Quad Cities rolled into the playoffs with a 9-3 win against Peoria. Oscar Taveras reached base three times.
Short-season Batavia's season ended on Sunday.
Rookie-level Johnson City wrapped up the Appalachian League championship on Sunday.
The rookie-level Gulf Coast League Cardinals finished their season in August.
Taveras is the player of the day, capping a brilliant if injury-hampered year. He was 2-for-3 on Monday with a double, a walk and two RBIs. On the year, Taveras batted .386 with a .444 on-base percentage and a .584 slugging percentage in 78 games at Quad Cities, his first exposure to full-season baseball. Taveras, who turned 19 in June, signed with the organization as a non-drafted free agent in November 2008.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.