6/14/2013 8:15 P.M. ET
Beltran pitching in for Hispanic students in St. Louis
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
MIAMI -- Carlos Beltran has been helping the Cardinals from the minute he stepped on the field in 2012. But the seven-time All-Star will be helping off the field in St. Louis, too.
Beltran and his wife, Jessica, partnered with the Hispanic Arts Council to create the Carlos Beltran Scholarship to benefit underprivileged Hispanic college-bound students in St. Louis and its surrounding areas.
"Jessica and I feel very blessed to give back to the Hispanic students of St. Louis," Beltran said. "Education and opportunity are extremely important to us, and we've been able to see the positive impact created with the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in Puerto Rico. Now, to have the opportunity to help these kids locally, with the assistance of Professor [Virginia] Braxs and the Hispanic Arts Council, we couldn't be more excited to make an impact in the community that has welcomed us with open arms."
Beltran's scholarship program aims to support aspiring Hispanic youth in their senior year of high school to advance their college studies. The scholarship will reward the effort, hard work, responsibility and individual academic merits of Hispanic students who are admitted to accredited institutions of higher learning, community colleges or four-year colleges and universities in the United States.
The scholarship will be funded through Beltran's donations to the Hispanic Arts Council of St. Louis' Carlos Beltrán Scholarship Fund. In order to qualify for the award, at least one of the applicant's grandparents must have been Hispanic.
The Beltrans will serve on the scholarship committee that evaluates applications and selects the winners. The Carlos Beltrán Scholarship will be awarded for the 2013-14 academic year in a pregame ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Wacha optioned to make room for Westbrook
MIAMI -- Jake Westbrook returned to start Friday's series opener against the Marlins, which meant the Cardinals had to make a roster move.
St. Louis activated Westbrook from the disabled list and made room for him on the 25-man roster by optioning rookie right-hander Michael Wacha to Triple-A Memphis. Wacha was 1-0 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts with the Cardinals.
The decision was a tough one, but manager Mike Matheny believes the move will give Wacha an opportunity to improve.
"This is an opportunity for him to go down and really establish the bottom of the zone," Matheny said. "We want him to establish the strike zone with his fastball and be working ahead in counts. We want him to continue to work on his breaking ball, but that bottom-of-the-zone fastball is what makes his changeup so good. We want to see him continue to be consistent, and that just comes with repetition. It was time for him to go back and do it."
Wacha's demotion means that fellow rookie Tyler Lyons will start Sunday's series finale against the Marlins. The left-hander, who is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA over four starts, has impressed Matheny.
"It's nice to have that left-hander in our starting rotation, and it's been nice to watch Tyler do his thing," Matheny said. "He's been very efficient and given us a chance every time he's been out there. Michael did a great job, too, but right now it's a better fit for Tyler to be in there."
Beyond Lyons' success and a desire to see Wacha work on some things, Matheny explained that the decision to option the talented rookie involved managing Wacha's innings.
"We'll have to look over his whole workload," Matheny said. "We don't want to find ourselves in a situation at the end of the year where we have a kid that we can't use because he's had too much work. We're trying to be smart about that and also allow him to work on some things. When he comes back, we'll see how he throws."
Rehabbing Furcal visits Cardinals in Miami
MIAMI -- A familiar face strolled into the Cardinals' clubhouse around 3 p.m. CT on Friday afternoon.
Rafael Furcal, who is out for the entire season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, is pleased with how his rehabilitation is going.
"I am happy with the way we're working right now," Furcal said. "It's progressing."
The 35-year-old has not thrown yet, but he is eager to reach that stage in the rehab process.
"Maybe when I get to about 8 or 10 weeks," Furcal said. "I'm just going to keep working hard every morning. It's a little boring, but it's getting better."
Furcal lives about 45 minutes south of the Cardinals' facility in Jupiter, Fla., where he has been working daily to get his elbow back to full strength. He anticipates moving his rehab to St. Louis later this year.
The three-time All-Star follows the Cardinals on a daily basis, but admits he misses being a part of the team.
"I'm so happy to see the team doing what it's doing," Furcal said. "It's good to see the games every night and have the team doing so well. It's tough for me, because I want to be part of the team."
Furcal, who plans to play winter ball in the offseason, says the hardest part of his rehab is being separated from the game he loves.
"It's tough when you've played for so long and then you're out for a whole year," Furcal said. "The fact that there is nothing you can do to come back even in September makes me a little bit crazy."
Cards sign five picks, two undrafted free agents
MIAMI -- The Cardinals added seven players to their organization Friday, signing five players from their 2013 June First-Year Player Draft and a pair of undrafted free agents.
St. Louis came to terms with pitcher Michael Mayers (3rd round, University of Mississippi), outfielder James Bosco (13th round, Menlo College), pitcher Michael Brookshire (20th round, Belmont University), catcher Alex DeLeon (23rd round, University of Kansas) and pitcher Kyle Webb (32nd round, Elon University).
"We are thrilled to get all of these players signed and into a Cardinals uniform," Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz said. "Mayers indicated to us that he wanted to get started quickly and was eager to get going. He will report to the Gulf Coast League, where we can monitor his innings and allow our player development staff to begin working with him. Bosco has a chance to be an electric player, and we are excited that he is going to begin his career for the State College Spikes."
The Cardinals also announced the signings of Kyle Grana, a senior right-handed pitcher out of Bellarmine University, and Brian Vigo-Suarez, a senior outfielder from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
"The non-drafted free agents are essential for rounding out our Minor League rosters, as well as providing another avenue to add players who we believe have a chance to reach the Major Leagues," Kantrovitz said. "In most cases, the non-drafted free agents are players we would have drafted had there been more than 40 rounds. Although these players do not generally get a lot of publicity, we use a very similar decision-making process with them as we do with drafted players. Often times, we have multiple amateur scouting reports on each of them."
The seven newly signed Cardinals join six other Draft picks who signed with the organization this week. St. Louis already came to terms with its top three picks, Marco Gonzales (No. 19), fellow lefty Rob Kaminsky (No. 28) and shortstop Oscar Mercado (No. 57).
MLB.com reported Thursday that three later-round picks, shortstop Malik Collymore (10th round), righty Steven Farinaro (11th round) and outfielder Ricardo Bautista (12th round) are nearing agreements that would earn them bonuses of more than $100,000. The Cardinals have a total Draft pool of $6.9079 million this year.
• Matheny updated the status of injured pitchers Fernando Salas and John Gast on Friday. Salas, who has been out since May 22 with right shoulder inflammation, has played catch. Gast, who went on the disabled list on May 26 with a left shoulder strain, is still in the rehab process and has not begun throwing.
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.