(BaseballStL) – As the first-place Pirates make their final trip to St. Louis, the Cardinals get another arm back for their roster.
Jake Westbrook was activated Friday following time on the DL to deal with a sore back.
Westbrook had struggled mightily before going on the DL, giving up 26 earned runs on 34 hits in his four August starts.
While many may not have expected Westbrook’s return to be eagerly anticipated, Lance Lynn’s recent spate of ugly starts have the Cardinals looking for answers on the mound.
Lynn has lost four straight and gone a combined nine innings in his last two starts. Despite striking out six in Thursday’s game, he threw more than 100 pitches in five innings and surrendered three homers.
Initially, however, Westbrook will start in the bullpen. Speaking before Friday's game, GM John Mozeliak mentioned the veteran needed to do some rehab work and- since there are no more minor league starts to be had- the bull pen made the most sense.
Manager Mike Matheny said Friday he believed Westbrook would be able to handle the initial bullpen move just fine.
"On a personal level for Jake, he was in a similar situation before and all of a sudden he's throwing Game Six," he said referring to Game Six of the 2011 World Series where Westbrook was credited with the win out of the pen.
With 15 of the 22 remaining games being home contests for the Cards, Westbrook would likely be in line for some spot starts. In St. Louis the veteran is 5-1 with a WHIP of 1.2 and opponents hit .263 against him.
Mozeliak said he believes Westbrook will be able to start for the Cardinals down the stretch, but he won't be taking Lynn's next start.
The GM said the staff wanted to give the young pitcher another chance to fix some of his problems, though time may be running short to right the ship.
"The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome," said Mozeliak. "So something's gotta give."