St. Louis Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo, who recently underwent right knee surgery, is taking a medical leave of absence, the team announced Sunday.
Oquendo, 52, is the longest tenured coach on the Cardinals' staff. He has been part of the team's major league coaching staff since 1999, including the past 16 seasons as third base and infield coach.
Oquendo has been limited by his knee -- also operated on over the winter -- for much of spring training. He has been on crutches since returning from the second surgery.
In Oquendo's absence, the Cardinals said Chris Maloney will handle the third base coaching duties and Bill Mueller will now coach first base and provide infield instruction.
Minor league hitting coordinator Derrick May will take over Mueller's duties as assistant hitting coach and minor league offensive strategist George Greer will now oversee hitting instruction for all of the minor leagues.
Also, the Cardinals trimmed six players off the spring-training roster after Sunday's game.
The Cardinals optioned pitchers Tim Cooney, Dean Kiekhefer, Miguel Socolovich and Sam Tuivailala and catcher Mike Ohlman to Triple-A Memphis. The club also reassigned first baseman-outfielder David Washington to minor league camp.
St. Louis has 34 players remaining in the major league camp, including 16 pitchers.