With a handful of transactions in recent days and today’s IL announcement, it’s a good time for a transaction catch-up article.
6/7/22: Optioned RHP Jake Walsh to AAA Memphis. Activated OF Tyler O’Neill from the 10-day IL.
6/10/22: Optioned OF Lars Nootbaar to AAA Memphis. Activated OF Dylan Carlson from the 10-day IL.
6/14/22: Added LHP Matthew Liberatore as the 27th man for today’s doubleheader and returned him to AAA Memphis after the 2nd game.
6/15/22: Optioned LHP Packy Naughton to AAA Memphis. Activated RHP Jack Flaherty from the 60-day IL. To make room on the 40-man roster, designated C Ali Sanchez for assignment. 40-man roster still full.
6/17/22: Placed C Yadier Molina on the 10-day IL (right knee inflammation), retroactive to June 16th. Recalled C Ivan Herrera from AAA Memphis.
6/18/22: Noted the loss of C Ali Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers on an outright assignment waiver claim.
6/20/22: Placed OF Tyler O’Neill on the 10-day IL (left hamstring strain). Recalled OF Lars Nootbaar from AAA Memphis.
Jake Walsh was recalled on June 5th when Corey Dickerson went on the shelf, leaving the Cards with a three-man bench until Tyler O’Neill recovered from his shoulder injury. While both O’Neill and Dylan Carlson were injured, Juan Yepez and Brendan Donovan got most of the playing time in left and right field, respectively, with a smattering of Corey Dickerson mixed in. When both O’Neill and Carlson came back, Yepez, who had trailed off a bit (.190/.258/.293 from May 20th through June 10th) after his hot start, went to the bench. Donovan has played mostly second base while Gorman has been resting his back while slotting in as the designated hitter against righties.
Meanwhile, O’Neill has been hot (.354/.385/.521 with 2 homers, 2 doubles albeit with a .429 BABIP) since he came back from his previous stint on the shelf. Unfortunately, in the top of the 9th inning last night against the Red Sox, O’Neill came up limping as he rounded first base after driving a ball to the right-center field gap for a double. Now he’s gone for a minimum of 10 days with a hamstring injury. Yepez figures to get the bulk of the playing time in his absence, although manager Oli Marmol has installed Yepez at DH tonight, with Donovan in left and Gorman back at second.
Nootbaar has 14 hits in 77 trips to the plate for Memphis this season, with eight of his hits going for extra bases, divided equally between homers and doubles. He struggled in his brief time in the show this year, and in the past week in Memphis, he went 3 for 27 with two walks and ten strikeouts.
A couple of other notes. Today is the day that the 13-pitcher maximum rule goes into effect for real. It was supposed to start for the 2020 season, but has been delayed for real. It doesn’t affect the Cardinals right now, as we already had a 4-man bench. It does mean that we’re going to have to figure out the middle innings. Oli Marmol has flatly stated that he’s not going to use Giovanny Gallegos when the club is behind or Ryan Helsley when it’s not a high leverage situation, which Marmol does not believe includes a scenario when the club is down by two runs. If T.J. McFarland, Nick Wittgren and Drew VerHagen can’t get the job done, the club is going to have to find someone who can. The manager said we can expect for Zack Thompson and Johan Oviedo to get looks when the game is closer instead of designated mop-up roles.
Maybe no one else does, but I find it interesting that the Cards haven’t called up one of the minor-league journeyman and allowed Thompson to continue to ply his trade in the rotation. If Thompson is the best option in the majors right now, I suppose I’m all for it. Many of our previous young starters spent a year or so in the major league bullpen before settling into the big league rotation. I also find it interesting that despite being eligible to be recalled to make the start yesterday, the Cards opted not to recall Matthew Liberatore to start on regular rest, and instead elected to start Andre Pallante on three days of rest from a prior relief appearance. Pallante has been jerked back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen over the last few weeks.
Finally, now that Ali Sanchez was lost on an outright assignment waiver claim, Pedro Pages and 33-year old journeyman Austin Romine, whom the Cards just signed to a minor league deal, are now the catchers for AAA Memphis.
Mikolas, Flaherty, Wainwright, Hudson, Pallante
Cabrera (L), Gallegos, Helsley, McFarland (L), Oviedo, Thompson (L), VerHagen (R), Wittgren (R)
Herrera, Nootbaar, Sosa/Gorman, Pujols/Donovan