Kevin Herget (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

The St. Louis Cardinals made just short of a dozen pitching moves on Saturday, with a pair of openings at Triple-A signaling more ahead.

The St. Louis Cardinals made just short of a dozen pitching moves on Saturday, with a pair of openings at Triple-A signaling more ahead.

Maness move altered

Before Seth Maness could report to Triple-A Memphis, the reliever apparently mentioned an issue with his right, pitching elbow. After being examined by a team physician on Saturday, the Cardinals instead placed the 27-year-old on their 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation.

This move keeps Maness’ Major League service time accruing, which eventually will contribute to salary and free agent benefits to him.


Memphis nets down two pitchers

As reported on Friday, Memphis lefty Dean Kiekhefer was called up to St. Louis for the first time, replacing Maness on the Cardinals’ active roster.

However, the moves affecting the Triple-A Redbirds did not end there.

Along with Kiekhefer, two other Redbirds are no longer active, with both placed on the seven-day disabled list. Starter Thomas Lee went on the shelf retroactive to Thursday, May 12 and reliever Justin Wright’s move to the DL is retroactive to Friday.

The lefty spot in the Redbirds pen vacated by Kiekhefer has been filled by Corey Littrell, promoted from Springfield, but at this point, the Cardinals did not fill the two new openings, temporarily leaving Memphis with just 23 players active.

Lee, 26, had his worst of six starts last time out, when he was charged with six runs in 1 2/3 innings at Omaha on Wednesday. Overall, the right-hander carries a 6.83 ERA to the DL.

At this point, it is unclear who will take Lee’s next turn in the Redbirds’ rotation, which comes up on Monday morning at home against Sacramento. As a point of interest, top prospect Alex Reyes still has six days remaining on his suspension by my count.

Wright, 26, has been struggling in his third year with Memphis, with a 7.07 ERA through 15 games and 14 innings. The left-hander fanned 15 but issued a whopping 10 free passes and served up three home run balls.

Littrell, 23, comes to Memphis after just 13 games at Double-A. The former starter, in his first career bullpen action, worked 15 2/3 innings, giving up eight hits and three runs for a 1.72 ERA. Littrell had 14 strikeouts against just one walk with Springfield.


Springfield also loses a pitcher to the DL

In addition to the promotion of Littrell to Memphis, the Double-A Cardinals lost the services of Chris Thomas, as the right-handed reliever was placed on the seven-day disabled list.

Two replacements are joining Springfield from Palm Beach, with right-handers Kevin Herget and Pedro Echemendia moving up to the Texas League.

Thomas, 28, is in his third season in the Texas League. This year, he was charged with nine runs, six earned in 15 innings over 11 contests, for a 3.60 ERA. Thomas has been out since pitching two innings on May 8.

The Cardinal Nation’s Relief Pitcher of the Month for April has been nothing short of outstanding for Palm Beach. Herget, 25, appeared in 12 games, throwing 23 innings without allowing a run. He allowed just five hits, struck out 21 and issued just one free pass.  

Herget stumbled in a four-game tryout in Springfield last season.

Echemendia, a 24-year-old native of Cuba, fanned 18 and walked five in 20 1/3 innings with Palm Beach, but FSL hitters hit .300 against him. His ERA was 3.93.

As a result of these moves, the entire Springfield pitching staff, starters and relievers, are right-handed. Unlike Memphis, the S-Cards are at full roster strength – at least temporarily.


Palm Beach gains fresh arms

With the Class A-Advanced Cardinals reeling, having lost 12 of 13 games and yielding a total of 20 runs over Thursday and Friday evenings’ defeats alone, a couple of fresh bullpen arms should be welcomed.

Right-handers Landon Beck and Nick Frey have been promoted from Peoria to Palm Beach.

Beck, 23, struck out 20 and walked just four in 13 1/3 innings over 10 games with the Chiefs. His Midwest League ERA was 2.70 and he saved all four opportunities presented while holding hitters to a collective .184 batting average.

Frey, 24, opened the season in extended spring training before joining Palm Beach for three days in late April. He appeared in one Florida State League contest and then was transferred to Peoria. Over six innings with the Chiefs, Frey allowed just one run on 10 strikeouts against five walks.


Peoria adds a pair of lefties

The final dominoes to fall on Saturday reached Cardinals extended spring training camp, as the organization promoted two left-handers from there to backfill Beck and Frey at Class-A Peoria.

The newest Chiefs are Jordan DeLorenzo and Brady Bowen. They follow right-handers Juan Perez and Jorge Rodriguez, who blazed the same path back on May 2.

DeLorenzo, 23, was St. Louis’ 12th-round pick in the 2014 Draft. He pitched for Johnson City that summer before moving backward to the Gulf Coast League last season after coming off JC’s DL to open 2015. DeLorenzo fanned 27 and issued seven free passes while posting a 2.95 ERA over 21 1/3 innings in the GCL.

Bowen, 23, was an undrafted free agent signed in June 2015 before spending the summer in the Gulf Coast League. He struck out 20 and walked three in 21 1/3 innings to go with a 3.38 ERA.

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

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