Kelly to be Joined by Kottaras on Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals are adding a pitcher on Friday and a catcher on Saturday. Other moves follow.

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals activated right-handed pitcher Joe Kelly from the 60-day disabled list. That required moves on both the 25-man and 40-man rosters. For the former, left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons was optioned to Memphis, and for the latter, pitcher Jaime Garcia was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.

Kelly Rushed Back into Action

Kelly, who was leading the National League with his 0.59 ERA at the time of his left hamstring injury on April 16, will start Friday night’s series opener in Milwaukee. The 26-year-old made three injury-rehabilitation starts for Memphis – the most recent this past Sunday (July 6) and logged a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings.

The Cards skipped his fourth scheduled rehab start so he could replace ineffective Marco Gonzales in the rotation spot vacated by injured Michael Wacha.

Lyons Returned to Memphis

Lyons appeared in just one game for St. Louis this time up, yielding four runs in three innings against Pittsburgh Thursday night. Only one run was earned. Overall, the 26-year-old has a 5.79 MLB ERA in 28 innings over seven games with St. Louis this season.

Garcia Surgery Means Extended DL Stay

Garcia underwent Friday surgery to remove a rib to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome, a nerve problem. The timing of his return remains questionable, but is not expected to be in 2014. Garcia’s season ended with 3-1 record and a 4.12 ERA in seven starts.

Kottaras to Join Cardinals Saturday

The Cardinals also announced they claimed catcher George Kottaras (pronounced Cuh-TEAR-us) off waivers from the Cleveland Indians and that he will likely be added to the team’s 40-man and 25-man rosters on Saturday.

The newest Cardinal, a left-handed hitter, was batting .286 with three home runs and four RBI in 10 games for the Tribe this season before being been designated for assignment on Monday. He also appeared in 14 games for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers of the International League.

The 31-year-old owns a .216 career batting mark with 32 home runs and 100 RBI in 305 games between Boston (2008-09), Milwaukee (2010-12), Oakland (2012), Kansas City (2013) and Cleveland (2014).

Kottaras could serve as a platoon partner with or a reserve behind Tony Cruz for the 8-12 weeks starter Yadier Molina will be on the disabled list. To make 25-man space, Audry Perez will likely return to Memphis. The 40-man roster move follows.

Update: Perez was indeed optioned to Triple-A on Saturday.

O’Neill is Off 40-Man

Springfield outfielder Mike O’Neill was designated for assignment, clearing 40-man roster room for Kottaras. The 26-year-old is a victim of a rich outfield in the Cardinals system as well as a decline in 2014.

Having to return to Double-A after a final month at Memphis last season, O’Neill’s Springfield on-base percentage is down 88 points from last year and his batting average fell 62 points. That is not a healthy trend.

Castro is an All-Star

Redbirds pitcher Angel Castro will replace pitcher Jimmy Nelson of the Nashville Sounds on the Pacific Coast League All-Star roster. Castro will join outfielder Stephen Piscotty to represent the Redbirds on 30-man PCL All-Star team that will take on the International League stars in the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday at Durham, NC.

Nelson, who was recalled by Brewers to start Saturday’s game against St. Louis at Miller Park, had been the top vote-getter among PCL players and was pegged to start in the All-Star Game.

Castro has pitched in 18 games (14 starts before being moved to the pen) with the Redbirds this season, going 7-5 with a 3.38 ERA (32 earned in 85 1/3 innings) and 53 strikeouts. The 31-year-old ranks 5th in the PCL in ERA, 7th in WHIP (1.18), and 8th in average against (.243, 79-for-325).

For Warner, Futures is Now

Memphis manager Ron “Pop” Warner will join Springfield outfielder James Ramsey on the US squad in the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 13 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Warner will be one of seven members on the US coaching staff.

Redbirds pitcher Marco Gonzales, was initially selected to join Ramsey on the US squad, but recently made his big league debut for St. Louis and was replaced with Minnesota’s Trevor May.

More News on the Way

Please remember to check back here. If additional transaction news comes to light on Friday, it will be added to this article!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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