Tuivailala completes 26th man role
Sam Tuivailala returned to Triple-A Memphis after serving as the 26th man in Tuesday's twin bill in the Big Apple for St. Louis. Tuivailala hit a batter over a scoreless frame against the Mets in the nightcap.
So far in 2016, the hard-throwing right-handed reliever has a 5.45 ERA in 32 appearances (36 1/3 innings pitched) for Memphis. Tuivailala, The Cardinal Nation’s 11th-ranked St. Louis prospect, punched out 52 batters against 16 walks while executing 13 of 17 save opportunities.
Hefner off the shelf
As we reported earlier this week, Jeremy Hefner (right shoulder inflammation) completed his Gulf Coast League rehab assignment and had rejoined Memphis, ready to be activated off the disabled list. It was only a matter of when for the right-hander, and that turned out to be Wednesday. Hefner made two rehab starts for the Gulf Coast League Cardinals and will start for the Redbirds on Wednesday night against Oklahoma City (LAD).
For the season, Hefner has compiled a 2-4 record with 5.08 ERA in 10 starts at Triple-A this season. He has struck out 44 and walked 21 batters.
With Hefner's activation becoming official, Josh Lucas received the boot. Lucas was returned to Double-A Springfield just a week after being promoted to Memphis. The righty produced better results in this second stint with the Redbirds this season, tossing 3 2/3 scoreless innings through three outings.
The Texas League mid-season All-Star will likely settle back into high-leverage situations for the Springbirds. Lucas holds 3.76 ERA while converting 11 saves in 13 chances over 29 games at the Double-A level this season.
Mejia back and healthy
Along with Hefner, Memphis activated infielder Alex Mejia off the disabled list on Wednesday. Mejia had been held out of action since June 6th due to a broken wrist, according to a club representative.
The middle infielder has split time between Springfield and Memphis this season, slashing an aggregate .252/.304/.354 mark with one homer and 13 RBI in 44 games (147 at-bats).
Wilson faces developmental setback
With a roster full of more productive middle infielders, Jacob Wilson was the victim of a roster crunch as he was demoted to Double-A Springfield. Wilson returns to the Texas League for the first time since May 18, 2015.
With Memphis, the right-handed hitter has a .231/.294/.409 slash line with eight homers and 29 RBI through 62 games (208 at-bats). Known as more of a slasher at the dish, Wilson has whiffed 48 times to 17 walks.
Springfield lost its all-star second baseman in Bruce Caldwell to the disabled list on Tuesday. There is no official word on Caldwell's status other than he is out.
The 24-year old has seen a significant drop-off in his offensive production since the first half Caldwell is hitting just .143 (11-for-77) with no homers, 4 RBI, and a minuscule .195 slugging percentage over 24 games into the second half of the minor league season. One of his hiccups has been avoiding the strikeouts as he has already whiffed 32 times in the second half.
When asked about Caldwell’s struggles last week, Springfield hitting coach Ramon Ortiz called it a mental issue.
"With him, it's more mental than anything else," said hitting coach 'Smokey' Ortiz. "I don't see anything in his swing path.
"In the meantime, we are working to get him back on track because we need him. He's always had that ability to be a good hitter, a contact hitter. Right now, his swing is too long; I can say mechanically because he's tried to add more dimension to his swing from the backside.
"I think it's going to be okay. It's more mental than anything else."
With that said, perhaps there is no physical issue here rather a time to allow Caldwell to get right mentally.
Frey to Double-A - briefly
In the corresponding move for Caldwell on Tuesday, Springfield temporarily acquired a dependable relief arm in Nick Frey from Low-A Peoria. Frey made his Texas League debut Tuesday night and dealt two shutout innings against Tulsa (LAD). After the game, he was returned to the Midwest League.
The righty, out of Texas Christian University, has spent the majority of 2016 with the Chiefs but had a short eight-game cameo with High-A Palm Beach in May. Overall, Frey has posted a 3.96 ERA over 26 games (50 innings pitched) with 41 strikeouts against ten walks.
Update: Katz jammed
Just two days after activating him, Springfield placed Mason Katz back on the seven-day disabled list on Wednesday. There is no official word yet on the second baseman's injury and specifically if he had setback with his previous hamstring problem. Katz has suffered through an injury-riddled 2016 with three stints now on the disabled list.
Katz is hitting .279/.357/.475 through 19 games between High-A Palm Beach and Springfield this season.
Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.
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