ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals reached the 25-man roster limit Thursday, optioning utilityman Joe Mather to Classs AAA Memphis.
An extending slump cost Mather a shot at splitting time at third base with rookie David Freese in place of injured Troy Glaus. Mather had two home runs and 18 RBIs but batted only .227.
Mather had been battling outfielder Colby Rasmus and utility players Joe Thurston, Brendan Ryan and Brian Barden for the final roster spot. Rasmus is likely to be among a four-man outfield rotation with Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan.
The Cardinals play Memphis in an exhibition game today, and open the season Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.