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Magneuris Sierra set to debut as Jose Martinez joins stock of injured Cardinals

A 21-year-old outfielder is called up to replace a 28-year-old one

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

With a third outfielder injured (and the second one severely enough to require a disabled list stint) in as many days, Cardinals seventh-ranked prospect Magneuris Sierra has been promoted to the Majors from High-A Palm Beach to play centerfield for the big-league squad on Sunday afternoon.

In move to correspond with Jose Martinez’s left groin injury suffered in the first inning of Saturday evening’s contest, the speedy, left-handed-hitting Sierra was pulled from his game with the Palm Beach Cardinals on Saturday and traveled to Atlanta to play in the series finale for a St. Louis outfield that’s dwindled away considerably over the previous few days.

Stephen Piscotty sprained his right hamstring legging out a grounder in Thursday’s game with the Brewers, and Dexter Fowler dove and landed awkwardly on his right shoulder while attempting to make a grab in the outfield later that night. Piscotty was placed on the DL Friday afternoon, and Tommy Pham was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take his place on the roster. Fowler, said to be ‘available’ for the team’s current series in Atlanta, has not appeared yet, and it’s been the pair of Pham and Martinez to take the places of Piscotty and Fowler.

But with Martinez now out, this is where Sierra comes in.

MLB: Spring Training-Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Rated as the Viva El Birdos eleventh-best prospect, Sierra was slashing .272/.337/.407 across 81 at-bats in 20 games for the Cardinals with three doubles, four triples, three stolen bases, and a lowered strikeout rate of about 19 percent. The 2014 Minor League Player of the Year for the organization, Sierra scuffled a bit the next season but rebounded in 2016 to earn a promotion to Palm Beach to begin 2017 and ultimately the Majors just a month into the year.

For those wondering why Sierra got the call before Harrison Bader or Anthony Garcia, it boils down to the 40-man roster: Sierra was on it from when the Cardinals added him there over the offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, whereas Bader and Garcia were not eligible for the draft and did not require protection. So, to add Bader or Garcia, it would take the act of designating someone for assignment or transferring a player to the 60-day DL to do so - something the Cardinals have no means to do at the current time.

Sierra will bat seventh and play centerfield for the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon as they try for a sweep of the Braves.