JUPITER, Fla. -- The St. Louis Cardinals gave Sidney Ponson their fifth starting spot on Wednesday when they optioned prospect Anthony Reyes to Triple-A Memphis.
The Cardinals also optioned left-handers Tyler Johnson and Carmen Cali and catcher Michael Hernandez to their minor league camp. Plus, manager Tony La Russa said right-hander Adam Wainwright, who had also been in contention for the fifth spot, is now trying out for a bullpen job.
Ponson signed a $1 million contract with the Cardinals after being released by the Baltimore Orioles last September because of alcohol-related problems.
Ponson's off-the-field troubles in Maryland ended this week when prosecutors said they had dropped a false statement charge against him.
Ponson was convicted in December of driving while impaired and sentenced to five days in jail. His arrest in August marked his third drunk driving offense. He also spent 11 days in jail in his native Aruba after fighting on a beach.
The pitcher had been charged with knowingly making a false statement on a Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration application, but prosecutors said they could not prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
He was 7-11 with a 6.21 ERA last year, but won 17 games in 2003.
"He's gotten better every time, that's how I've been describing it," La Russa said. "He's got a history of durability and he's done as much in this camp as he could. It's all ahead of him, though."
La Russa said Reyes, 24, needed to work on pitch selection and concentrate less on power.
"The thing about Anthony is he can be a premier pitcher because he's got premier stuff," La Russa said. "He just needs to keep adding looks to the hitter."
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