As expected, the St. Louis Cardinals made a series of pitching moves on Sunday. The initial intent was to provide Triple-A Memphis with a starting pitcher to replace injured Thomas Lee’s turn in the rotation on Monday, but three other moves followed to replenish rosters.
Mike Mayers is the choice to move up from Double-A Springfield. Even so, Memphis still has one pitching opening. His replacement at Springfield is reliever Cody Schumacher, up from Palm Beach. The Beach Birds add right-hander Harley Holt from Peoria and the Chiefs welcome lefty Luke Harrison, returned to the Midwest League from extended spring training camp.
This string, coupled with Friday's and Saturday’s moves, make 16 pitching transactions across the Cardinals system over the long weekend alone. Now, we will take a quick look at each before shifting to a half-dozen position player changes.
Mayers, 24, is back to where he was late in the 2014 season – Triple-A Memphis. An injury-riddled 2015 meant the right-hander had to back-track to Springfield and Mayers returned there for seven starts to open this season, as well.
Over 41 1/3 Texas League innings in 2016, St. Louis’ third-rounder in 2013 has logged a 2.61 ERA. Mayers struck out 27 and walked 13 and held opposing batters to a .244 collective average.
Another former Missouri State Bear returns home to Hammons Field in reliever Schumacher, 25. Able to pitch effectively over multiple innings, the right-hander tossed 21 2/3 innings in 12 games for Palm Beach this season. Schumacher fanned 19 and walked just three. He also had a one-game debut with Springfield in 2015.
Holt, 24, spent just six days with Peoria after leaving extended spring training and before his promotion to Palm Beach. With the Midwest League Chiefs, the right-hander was touched for three runs, two earned, in 1 1/3 innings. Holt was a non-drafted free agent signee from Cal State Northridge last June, then joined Johnson City.
Harrison, 23, is back from a 13-day demotion to extended spring training. With Peoria this season, Harrison had allowed just one (unearned) run in 7 1/3 innings over six games. The right-hander yielded three hits, walked two and struck out six, while holding Midwest League hitters to a collective .120 batting average. In other words, Harrison should return to providing considerable value to the Chiefs bullpen.
While I was chasing those 16 pitching moves mentioned earlier, there were also three pairs of position player transactions that occurred at various times over the past few days. As long as we are here, let’s catch up on them, too.
Unable to get into a groove yet this season, Jacob Wilson is going to have to wait at least a week longer to resume trying. The Memphis infielder was placed on the seven-day disabled list, with the move made on Friday, May 13, retroactive to May 11. This season, Wilson’s line is just .192/.261/.321/.582.
The corresponding transaction on Friday was the return of catcher Michael Ohlman from Memphis’ DL, from where had been since May 5. In his first 19 games at Triple-A prior to his DL stint, Ohlman put up a credible .273/.349/.400/.779 line with my only major concern his 35.5 percent strikeout rate.
Also effective on Wednesday, May 11 was the move of Palm Beach infielder Andrew Sohn to the seven-day DL. It appears this was decided on Friday. Other than a five-game fill-in assignment with Springfield, the right-handed hitter has been with Palm Beach in 2016. Overall, the 23-year-old has struggled to a .145/.236/.215/.451 line over 22 games.
Effective Friday, Sohn’s replacement was added to the Palm Beach roster as infielder/outfielder Cole Lankford was promoted from extended spring training (State College roster). The 23-year-old, a former teammate of Michael Wacha at Texas A&M, spent all of 2015 with the Spikes, other than one contest with Palm Beach.
On Saturday, offense-starved Palm Beach lost its best run producer over the first six weeks of the season to the DL in third baseman Danny Diekroeger. The 23-year-old crafted a line of .286/.362/.371/.733 over 32 games. The left-handed hitter is tops on the Beach Birds with 16 RBI, tied for first with 14 runs scored and is second in all four slash line categories.
With the Sohn and Diekroeger deactivations, Palm Beach has an amazing ten players formally on the shelf, half of them infielders.
Stepping in for Diekroeger at Palm Beach is infielder Joey Hawkins, promoted on Saturday from EST (Johnson City roster) to Palm Beach. Another ex-MSU Bear, the 23-year-old struggled to adapt to the professional game offensively, with a line of .141/.238/.172 /.410 between the Gulf Coast League and Johnson City last summer. Now with the Beach Birds, he joins teammate, but not relative, Chandler Hawkins, a left-handed reliever.
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