On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced changes to their pitching staff, recalling left-handed pitcher Sam Freeman and right-handed pitcher Jorge Rondon from Memphis (AAA). The team also announced that left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons (left shoulder strain) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list and that right-handed reliever Eric Fornataro was optioned to Memphis.
Freeman, 26, who has appeared in 37 combined games (1-2, 4.18 ERA) with the Cardinals over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, was 0-1 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 games (16.2 IP) for Memphis this season. The 6-1, 165-pound lefty has allowed just two earned runs (1.50 ERA) over his last 10 appearances dating to April 12, striking out 16 batters in 12.0 IP.
Rondon, 26, who has spent eight-plus seasons in the minors, will be making his Major League debut with his first game appearance. The Calabozo, Venezuela native is a product of the Cardinals former Venezuelan Summer League team where he began his professional career in 2006 after signing as a non-drafted international free-agent in July of that year.
The 6-1, 215-pound Rondon was 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 11 games (14.1 IP) at Memphis this season. He has not allowed an earned run in his past five games (8.0 IP) since April 25.
Freeman will wear uniform no. 71 and Rondon will wear no. 68. Both players as expected to be in uniform for Tuesday night's game against the Chicago Cubs.
Brian Walton's commentary: The main question is who will step into the rotation for Lyons' next turn. One possible answer is Jaime Garcia, as the lefty pitched in a rehab start for Memphis on Monday night. That puts him on the same schedule as Lyons.
Speaking of left-handers, Freeman becomes the third St. Louis bullpenner to throw from the port side, but he can get out both right-handed and left-handed hitters – at least at Triple-A. Freeman has also pitched for St. Louis in parts of 2012 and 2013. His first outing will be his 2014 MLB debut.
Rondon is pretty much a direct swap out for Fornataro, who threw 39 pitches while yielding two runs in two innings of work on Monday night. Rondon was originally called up with Fornataro in mid-April, but after a weekend of inactivity, Rondon was returned to Memphis while Fornataro remained - until now. In other words, Rondon is still awaiting his MLB debut. It should come soon.
Memphis is now temporarily down one pitcher, though that should be addressed. It is unclear whether that will be prior to the St. Louis return of Jason Motte from the disabled list. That would seem to put one of the new big-league arrivals at risk.
To see the Cardinals' entire system by level and position, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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