As they have dealt with pitching injuries and a rough schedule that gave them just one day off between April 20th and May 28th, the St. Louis Cardinals have run for some time with one extra bullpen pitcher. With the planned return of outfielder Jon Jay from his three-game rehab with Class-A Peoria on Friday, the club cut a hurler from its active roster rather than a position player.
On Thursday, the Cardinals optioned right-handed reliever Miguel Socolovich to Triple-A Memphis.
With St. Louis having the day off, making the move now enabled them to get Socolovich on his way to the Redbirds in time for their Friday game. The Jay activation has not yet been made and will not occur until after his Thursday night game three with the Midwest League Chiefs.
Memphis’ roster move to accommodate the return of Socolovich should also be announced on Friday.
Socolovich, 28, joined St. Louis, his sixth different organization since 2004, as a minor league free agent last November. The Venezuelan native participated in St. Louis’ spring training camp as a non-roster invitee before being assigned to Memphis to open the 2015 season.
With the Redbirds, Socolovich put together a fantastic April before he was added to the 40-man roster and promoted to St. Louis on May 1. He had tossed 12 2/3 scoreless innings over his first seven outings as a Redbird while holding Pacific Coast League batters to a collective .122 average, including nine strikeouts. Socolovich actually issued more free passes, eight, than hits allowed, five.
With St. Louis the last four weeks, Socolovich performed well, but in a bit of a surprise, has not been used since May 20. In 7 2/3 frames over seven games, he allowed just one earned run on five hits and struck out eight against just one walk.
With Sam Tuivailala already sent down last week when Jaime Garcia was activated, the other reasonable possibility for demotion appeared to be Mitch Harris. The 29-year-old rookie right-hander has pitched twice since Socolovich’s last appearance but has lesser numbers on the season overall (4.26 ERA, six strikeouts vs. eight walks in 12 2/3 innings).
As the injury ball bounces, one would assume both Tuivailala and Socolovich will receive additional opportunities with St. Louis in the not-too-distant future.
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