Though it appeared the St. Louis Cardinals’ opening day 25-man roster was set on Thursday, it is not the case. On Saturday afternoon, the club informed media that reserve catcher Brayan Pena will open the season in the 15-day disabled list due to a particle of loose cartilage in his left knee. Surgery will be scheduled soon, with time out expected to be from two to four weeks.
Pena, who batted .304 for the spring, had been bothered by the knee in recent days after slipping on a wet dugout step. He took three days off before playing in Thursday’s finale against the Yankees.
Veteran Eric Fryer has caught up with the team in Pittsburgh and will serve as Yadier Molina’s back up while Pena is out. Fryer has prior MLB experience with the Pirates and Twins.
Fryer joins another non-roster player to make the Cardinals out of spring training, outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. With a full 40-man roster, a possible solution to accommodate the two would be to put pitcher Lance Lynn and shortstop Jhonny Peralta on the 60-day disabled list, but that is not yet official.
Unless any other injuries surface between now and Sunday’s opener, the Cardinals will have six players on the disabled list to begin play in 2016. Along with Pena, Lynn and Peralta, pitchers Mitch Harris and Jordan Walden are shelved plus infielder Ruben Tejada. That is one more than the last two season opening rosters combined. In 2015, Jaime Garcia and Tommy Pham were on the DL with Garcia joined by Jason Motte and Mark Ellis in 2014.
Triple-A Memphis is scheduled to begin its regular season on Thursday. While Michael Ohlman appears to be set at one catching spot, another player will be required to replace Fryer on the Redbirds' roster. A prime candidate is 29-year-old Alberto Rosario, who has 186 games of prior Triple-A experience.
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