Since the departure of pitcher, now AA outfielder, Rick Ankiel, the Cardinals have been looking for a third lefthander for their bullpen. Carmen Cali could be the guy they have been looking for.
With LHP Bill Pulsipher being placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, with a mild to moderate strained right hamstring, it is Cali taking his place on the roster.
It didn't take long for Cali to get his feet wet, Cardinals' Manager, Tony LaRussa put him in Tuesday's night game vs. the Reds in the top of the ninth with St. Louis leading Cincinnati 5-4.
Cali faced four batters, giving up just one hit, striking out one, before closing the game out for the Cardinals third win of the season.
Cali, the newest member of the bullpen, was one of the last cuts this spring, when he registered a 4.91 ERA and fanned six in 7-1/3 innings. Opponents hit just .154 against him. In three regular-season games with Memphis, Cali was unscored upon, striking out two in 3-1/3 frames.
The 26 year old lefthander, throws hard with a fast ball, which sits at 90-91 MPH and peaks at 94-94. He also has a good slider and has proven in the past, that he is durable.
The young lefthander has always had the arm strength, but conditioning and a lack of focus has held him back until last season, when he made a breakthrough making it all the way to the majors and appearing in 10 games for the Cardinals.
Cali's 2004 and 2005 spring training performances is amazing considering he spent the first four years in the Cardinals' organization and never made it past A ball.
Originally selected by the Cardinals in the 10th round of the June 2000 free agent draft, Cali is signed through this season.
Prior to Tuesday's night game, Cali's last outing with the Cardinals, was in the exhibition game Sunday vs Oklahoma. Cali didn't get a decision in 1.1 innings pitched. He did not allow a run or even a hit, walking one and he racked up a strike out, before being shipped out to AAA Memphis.
In spring training, Cali made 7 spring outings and the only runs he allowed in the spring came in his 3/16 outing vs. Boston - when he gave up three runs in 1.0 IP on two hits, two walks.
Cali allowed just four hits in his 8.1 IP this spring. Picked up the save 3/10 vs. Houston.
A LOOK BACK AT 2004:
Last season, Cali made stops at Tenn. (AA), Memphis (AAA) and St. Louis in his fifth pro season. Combined for 17 saves, 14 at Tenn.
Cali was named to Southern League All-Star team and finished seventh among SL save leaders with 14. He fanned 47 batters to just 19 walks in his 46.1 IP for Tennessee. Cali managed to post an impressive nine saves and a 2.03 ERA (13.1 IP/3 ER) in his 12 appearances during June.
Last season's improved performance earned Cali a late July promotion to Memphis where he continued to post strong totals. The lefty was unscored upon in his first five games for the Redbirds, allowing just two of 11 batters to reach base. He struck out 20 batters in 20.0 IP for Memphis and walked just four.
Cali's contract was purchased from Memphis on 9/3 and he made his ML debut on 9/8 at SD with 0.2 IP. He appeared in 10 games with Cards last season, fanning eight batters in 7.1 IP. Worked 1.2 innings on 9/27 at HOU, striking out two.