Hart was sent to Triple-A Memphis and right-hander Josh Pearce was recalled to add depth to the bullpen.
Friday night's game against the Cubs was the fourth straight in a stretch of 13 without an off day. So manager Tony La Russa opted for 12 pitchers and one fewer bench player.
"It's nice to have that extra player, but we'll go back to
square one," La Russa said. "I'll bet he's as disappointed this
time as the last time but there's nothing you can do about it."
Hart, 26, was recalled April 11 after being the final cut in
spring training. He got a shot last year because of injuries to
Fernando Vina and Miguel Cairo, beginning his career with seven
hits in 10 at-bats. Overall, he hit .277 in 77 games with four home
runs and 28 RBIs.
Hart was batting .154, going 2-for-13 with a pair of singles and two RBIs in 13 games. When Tony Womack was sidelined for a week with tightness in his triceps muscle, Marlon Anderson got almost all the playing time. Hart made just three starts.
He'll be the regular second baseman at Memphis.
"I'd always rather be here, but I need to get better," Hart
said. "Hopefully I'll be up soon enough.
"I didn't expect to be here the whole year, I knew it would be a battle back and forth, and this is step one."
Pearce, 26, was 0-0 with a 1.64 ERA in nine relief appearances for Memphis. He struck out 13 and walked one.
A second-round draft pick in 1999 who began his career as a starter, Pearce was converted to the bullpen this year following
shoulder surgery in 2002.
Pearce embraced the change because the Cardinals are loaded with starting pitching in the minors.
"I think it suits me a little better," he said. "I'm pretty
pleased in the bullpen right now. It gives me a chance to get in
hopefully three or four games a week."