NEW YORK -- Three Cardinals fans are among the 90 finalists for Major League Baseball and People magazine's "Tribute for Heroes" campaign, an initiative that recognizes military service members and veterans.
Those finalists include Deanna Judd of Warrenton, Mo.; Brian Taylor Urruela of Tampa, Fla.; and Vadi Dodge of St. Louis. One of the three will be invited to participate in All-Star Week festivities and will be recognized at Citi Field during a pregame ceremony on July 16. Fans can choose who to send to the All-Star Game by voting at TributeForHeroes.com through June 20.
Dodge served in the Army Infantry for nine years, during which he was deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He later became a Warrior Leader course instructor, a role that allowed him the opportunity to mentor young soldiers. He is a monthly volunteer at the St. Louis Jewish food pantry and has completed eight marathons and an Iron Man.
Judd, who served overseas in the Army for 10 months, is a transportation coordinator for the Movement Control Team. She is a single mother of two and often a regular caretaker for her brother's children.
Urruela joined the Army Infantry in 2004 and, two years later, lost his leg while serving in Iraq. Once he returned to the U.S., Urruela helped to start VETSports, a non-profit organization that provides adaptive sports opportunities for returning wounded and combat veterans. He is a Purple Heart recipient and is currently studying sports management at the University of Tampa.
MLB continues to support the Welcome Back Veterans initiative, which aids veterans returning from service and their families. MLB has already committed more than $23 million in grants for hospitals and clinics that provided treatment for traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Back from injury, Westbrook ready for Friday start
NEW YORK -- Jake Westbrook rejoined the Cardinals on Tuesday and is scheduled to make his return to the mound on Friday, when the Cardinals open a series in Miami.
Westbrook threw a side session at Citi Field on Tuesday, the final step in his rehab work from an elbow injury. In his final rehab start, Westbrook threw 76 pitches in a seven-inning, one-run start for Class A Peoria on Sunday. He expects to enter Friday's start prepared to throw 100 pitches.
"I feel really good right now," Westbrook said. "I feel really good with the two starts I've had. I feel really encouraged about getting up and down seven times on Sunday, and hopefully it continues to feel that way throughout the year."
Westbrook will be taking the spot in the rotation that had belonged to Tyler Lyons. The Cardinals have not yet determined what is next for Lyons, as the organization plans to see how the next few days go before making a final decision. If the Cardinals want to keep him on the Major League roster, they could plug him into the bullpen or send out Michael Wacha instead. Otherwise, Lyons will be headed back into the Triple-A rotation.
Cardinals come to terms with seven draftees
NEW YORK -- Nick Petree, a ninth-round Draft pick out of Missouri State University, was among seven players taken in last week's First-Year Player Draft to sign with the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Along with Petree, catcher Elier Gonzalez (14th round), pitcher Zack Loraine (21st round), catcher Luke Voit (22nd round), first baseman Jake Stone (27th round), pitcher Nick Lomascolo (34th round) and outfielder Vaughn Bryan (35th round) all agreed to terms on a signing bonus.
The Cardinals have not yet announced to which affiliate each of the seven players has been assigned.
Baseball America reported on Tuesday that the Cardinals had also agreed to terms on a $1.85 million bonus with No. 19 overall pick Marco Gonzales. That news was not, however, confirmed by the Cardinals. One source told MLB.com that it would be premature to report that terms had been agreed to or that a contract had been signed.
Gonzales, a left-hander out of Gonzaga University, would first have to travel to St. Louis and pass a physical before he can sign a contract.
The Cardinals' other first-round pick, Rob Kaminsky, who was selected 28th in the Draft, is likely to make an appearance at Citi Field during the club's visit to New York this week. Kaminsky, who expressed an eagerness to sign and forgo a college commitment when he talked with reporters last week, resides in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.
Cards' Double-A squad fields collection of All-Stars
NEW YORK -- Six members of the Cardinals' Double-A Springfield roster have been named to the Texas League All-Star Game, which will be played in Springdale, Ark., on June 25.
The list includes three pitchers -- Keith Butler, Deryk Hooker and Kevin Thomas -- as well as position players Ruben Gotay, Mike O'Neill and Tommy Pham. Butler, who is currently in the St. Louis bullpen, will obviously not participate in the game.
A few other notes from around the Cardinals' farm system:
• Tyrell Jenkins was moved to the disabled list (retroactive to Sunday), though farm director John Vuch said that the DL placement is not an indication that the shoulder soreness that forced Jenkins out of his last low-A start has become worse. With the Midwest League All-Star break approaching, the Cardinals made the move to give Jenkins some extended time away to address the shoulder fatigue. Jenkins will spend the time off working through a throwing program in Jupiter, Fla.
• Outfielder Anthony Garcia was named the Florida State League player of the week after hitting .393 from June 3-9. Garcia, 21, hit five home runs, three doubles and a triple last week. He drove in 10 and scored six runs.
• Carson Kelly, the Cardinals' second-round pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, has been sent to short-season State College, where he will play as the Spikes' everyday third baseman. In 43 games with low-A Peoria this year, Kelly hit .219.
• David Freese extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a second-inning single on Tuesday. The streak is a career long for Freese and also the longest in the Majors this season.
• General manager John Mozeliak said that Fernando Salas is expected to begin a throwing program this week. Salas, who has been on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation since May 21, resumed playing catch last week.
• Carlos Beltran did not start for the Cardinals on Tuesday, which gave Matt Adams the chance to make another spot start. Manager Mike Matheny said he liked the idea of getting Beltran a day to rest following Monday's off-day, which Beltran spent witnessing the first graduating class of the Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy in his native Puerto Rico.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.