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Cardinals demote struggling shortstop DeJong to Memphis

DeJong was hitting just .130 for the Cardinals in 2022 before being sent down.

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals are sending their struggling shortstop to AAA Memphis after a disappointing start to the 2022 season.

On Tuesday the Cardinals announced they had optioned Paul DeJong to Memphis, and called up infielder Kramer Robertson.

DeJong, 28, was an All-Star just three seasons ago in 2019, but has seen his offensive production take a nose dive in recent years.

In 24 games so far in 2022, DeJong is hitting just .130 with a .209 on-base percentage and .417 OPS. DeJong has one home run and seven RBIs on the season, and has struck out 25 times in 77 at-bats.

"It was not an easy decision and something the last couple days we've really been agonizing over," Cardinals president John Mozeliak said before the team's game on Tuesday. "... Our hope is that he'll rejoin this club and be a productive member."

Since the start of 2020, DeJong has hit .202 with a .640 OPS in 182 games. 

The Cardinals drafted DeJong in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of Illinois State University. He made his debut on May 28, 2017 and hit a home run in his first Major League at-bat.

DeJong is signed through the 2023 season, and is set to make more than $6 million this season. He has club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons.

Robertson, 27, was hitting .225 with a .380 on-base percentage for Memphis in 23 games this season. He has three home runs, six stolen bases and has played everywhere on the infield other than first base. Robertson will wear uniform No. 35.

The Cardinals decided not to call up top prospect Nolan Gorman from Memphis. Gorman has been playing second base, a spot currently manned in the majors by Tommy Edman.

Mozeliak said the Cardinals will work with Edman at shortstop pregame to help transition him into the position. Brendon Donovan, Robertson and Edmundo Sosa, upon return from the IL, could be in line to start at shortstop in the interim.

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