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TA 9/11/21: Justin Miller Activated, Sanchez Optioned

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals just announced the following transactions in the last two days:

9/10/21: Activated LHP Brandon Waddell from the COVID-19 Related IL. 40-man roster full.

9/11/21: Optioned C Ali Sanchez to AAA Memphis. Activated RHP Justin Miller from the 10-day IL.

Waddell hasn’t pitched in a game since July 9th, when he appeared in relief for the big club. After that, he was optioned on July 15th, and then placed on the COVID-19 Related IL the next day to make room for T.J. McFarland on both the active and 40-man rosters for the Cards. Because the COVID diagnosis was discovered after the option had been filed, he has not earned either major league salary or service time since his option. Waddell was activated from the COVID-19 Related IL on August 14th, and the Cards cleared a 40-man spot for him by designating OF Scott Hurst for assignment. But just 6 days later, Waddell was placed back on the COVID-19 Related IL to clear a 40-man spot for the return of Miles Mikolas from the 60-day IL. Waddell remains with AAA Memphis.

Remember when the Cards said they recalled Ali Sanchez from AAA Memphis when rosters expanded to 28 on September 1st so that Andrew Knizner could pinch hit more? In the entire time since his recall, Sanchez has appeared in only one game, namely the 2nd game of a 7-inning doubleheader with the Reds on September 1st. In that game, he entered the game in the bottom of the 5th inning to catch when the Cards were already losing 11-2. He caught two half-innings and doubled in his only plate appearance with 2 out and nobody on in the top of the 7th.

Meanwhile, in the 10 games since the September 1st recall of Sanchez, Knizner started the games on September 1st (1st game of a doubleheader), September 6th, and September 9th, with the latter game being a day game after a night game. Other than that, Knizner entered the game at 1st base in the bottom of the 5th in the same 11-2 September 1st blowout game against the Reds. In that game, Knizner had the ball thrown to him once on a groundout, and grounded out to start the top of the 7th. The only extra action Knizner saw was when he pinch hit for Kodi Whitley in with 2 out in the top the 9th, when the Cards were beating the Brewers 15-2 on September 3rd.

The Cards claimed Justin Miller on outright assignment waivers from the Washington Nationals in early July, and cleared 40-man space for him by transferring Jack Flaherty from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL. He went on the 10-day IL on August 18th with right ulnar nerve irritation in his right elbow, and during his time in the big league bullpen, it seemed as if Shildt had a fetish for pitching both Justin and Andrew Miller in the same game. Justin started out the 2021 season on a minor league deal and had a two-week, 5-game stint with the Nationals. He was DFAd after allowing 5 hits, 3 of which were homers, over 3 innings pitched. In his 14 games with the Cards before the injury, he struck out 8 and walked 4, with another 12 hits allowed and 2 homers in 12 IP. It’s a small sample, but in 42 plate appearances against right-handed batters, Miller has allowed a .415 OBP and .600 SLG.

Miller had a 2-game rehab assignment with AAA Memphis, pitched 2 innings, faced 10 batters, allowed 3 hits (including a homer), walked none, hit one and struck out 4. Miller’s addition reduces the bench to 5 players and gives the Cards a 10-man pen. With Jake Woodford now in the rotation, the only other real choices the Cards had as a corresponding roster move were to option Kodi Whitley or DFA Ponce de Leon.

BENCH

Knizner, Carpenter, DeJong, Rondon, Nootbaar

BULLPEN

Cabrera (L), Garcia, Gallegos, Kim (L), McFarland (L), A. Miller (L), J. Miller, Ponce de Leon, Reyes, Whitley