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Cardinals one of three teams without American-born black players

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 2:19 a.m. CDT

MILWAUKEE — The St. Louis Cardinals were singled out Tuesday in a USA Today article as one of three teams in the majors — San Francisco and Arizona are the others — not to have an American-born black player on their 25-man roster as Major League Baseball celebrates Jackie Robinson Day.

“It is something we do think about,” general manager John Mozeliak said by telephone from St. Louis. “Unfortunately, you look at the balance of what we have currently from our 40-man roster and we don’t have quite the influx of talent that is close.

“It is something you see in the game of baseball — that the number of African-American players is not as high as it once was.

“Certainly it is something we do think about, but we still have to go with the best available talent.”

The Cardinals had several African-American players in spring training, including lefthander Sam Freeman and outfielder Joey Butler, who are on the 40-man roster and are playing at Class AAA Memphis.

Infielder Jermaine Curtis, who was with the Cardinals briefly last season, also is at Memphis along with first baseman Xavier Scruggs.

And outfielder Adron Chambers finished the previous three seasons with the Cardinals before signing with Houston in the offseason.

Since 1954, when first baseman Tom Alston made his big-league debut, the Cardinals have had at least one African-American player on their roster each season.

Every player on every team will wear No. 42 in tribute to former Brooklyn Dodgers star Robinson, who broke baseball’s color barrier on this day in 1947 and wore No. 42.

While having no American-born black players, the Cardinals do have a number of Hispanic players on their club, including catcher Yadier Molina, shortstop Jhonny Peralta and reliever Carlos Martinez. Center fielder Jon Jay, who was born and grew up in Miami, is a Cuban American.

A USA Today survey of players on 25-man rosters shows that 7.8 percent are African Americans, about the same percentage as last year.

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