(BaseballStL) — Following a long, rain-soaked night, the Cardinals made a move to inject a fresh arm into their bullpen.
Carlos Martinez will rejoin the club Sunday, taking the place of lefty Kevin Siegrist.
“I think all season it’s been a little different than what we saw last year,” Mike Matheny said of the struggling reliever.
Siegrist’s ERA rose to 6.11 after Saturday night’s gruesome seventh, when the 25-year-old gave up two singles, two walks and a grand slam in just two outs of work. He missed 52 games with a left forearm strain this season, but after the loss he said health wasn’t the cause for the poor performance.
Instead, he had no explanation.
“I don’t know. I’ve been working, trying to get back to where I was, it’s just not making quality pitches. That’s what it comes down to,” he said. “I don’t really have an answer for you right now.”
Matheny entertained the possibility that a mechanical change adapted when Siegrist was dealing with his injury may remain and now that he’s healthy, it’s skewing his results.
“When a guy does have an injury and he gets back and is healthy, there were usually some modifications they were making along the way to survive at the time,” the manager said. “You do know that could be part of the equation, but it does seem like something’s off mechanically. Then that affects the confidence.”
Martinez will join the squad after making two starts in Memphis, going 10.1 scoreless innings while holding hitters to a .167 average. He had seven starts for the Cardinals, posting a 2-1 record with an
ERA of 4.45.
Matheny said he will use the hard throwing righty as needed, but he’s slated for relief work. After struggling out of the pen through much of the early part of 2014, Martinez appears to have sharpened up in his time in AAA.
“Just consistency. I think he was aggressive in the strike zone with his fastball which is the basis for everything,” Matheny said of the 22-year-old’s Memphis work. “Then after that, he was really finding a good feel for his slider.”
Siegrist was told Saturday night he would be heading to AAA. He could return to St. Louis when rosters expand in September, but Matheny said the club will watch how he progresses before making those promises.
“I think we forget how many young players we have here who have never been through struggles,” he said. “Especially the ones we had last year that we threw into high leverage situations and they were clicking. Everybody thought, ‘we’re going to watch this kid for the next six, seven years do what he just did.’”
In 2013, Siegrist boasted an ERA of .45 with 50 strikeouts in 39.2 innings of work. In 2014, he’s allowed 19 runs in just 28 innings, fanning 33. For a young pitcher, such trials can be confidence-shaking.
“There’s a lot to learn along the way,” Matheny said.
Martinez flew from El Paso Sunday morning and was still in route as of noon. He will likely join the team while the game is in progress.