With Mike Leake’s recent struggles coming to a head, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny declined Tuesday to commit to the righty for his next scheduled start, which would come at home Saturday against the Rays.
“He’s one of the options,” Matheny said of Leake. “We’re not completely certain what we’re going to do right there.”
Matheny declined to delve into what potential alternatives to Leake might be for that game, though Jack Flaherty (13-4, 2.13 ERA between Springfield and Memphis this season) would be one possibility based on his schedule in the minors. Giving Flaherty the ball Saturday would require adding him to the 40-man roster, which means someone else would have to be moved off it–all the more reason for Matheny to stay tight-lipped on the team's plans.
Matheny said that to the best of the team’s knowledge, Leake is healthy, but they will take the next few days to get all the information before making a decision on Saturday’s starter. Regardless of any disclosed or undisclosed health concern, it has been clear that Leake has not been the same pitcher of late. His August ERA stands at 10.31 in four starts, during which he has gone 0-3.
Siegrist moving closer to return
The Cardinals have been without Kevin Siegrist since early August due to left forearm tendonitis, but the lefty reliever could be nearing his return. Siegrist is heading to Jupiter Wednesday to continue his rehab, and seems confident he will be back with St. Louis soon.
“It’s pretty close,” Siegrist said. “I feel pretty good when I throw, there’s no pain afterward or anything like that. I should be ready to go after a couple games.”
Matheny would love to have Siegrist back in the fold, especially as the verdict on Rosenthal’s season looms. But with this DL stint being Siegrist’s second of the summer, the Cardinals manager wants to see Siegrist at full health before rushing him back into a pennant race.
“We’ve got to get him to the point where he’s healthy. Where he’s able to say he’s a hundred percent and ready to go. Hopefully he can get to that point.”
Siegrist has a 4.98 ERA in 34.1 innings pitched this season, well above his 2.77 mark in 2016.
In other injury news, there were no substantive updates on Rosenthal or Adam Wainwright from the Cardinals manager Tuesday. According to MLB.com's Jen Langosch, Rosenthal has met with a doctor for a second opinion on his right elbow, and the team expects to announce the next step in his process Wednesday.
Piscotty builds off Memphis stint
When signing his multi-year contract extension back in April, Memphis had to be the last place Stephen Piscotty thought he’d end up during the heat of a pennant race later that summer. Alas, a .236/.345/.364 batting line and an uneven season defensively landed him there for the past couple weeks, as the Cardinals rolled with hotter bats in the St. Louis outfield.
In eight games with Memphis, Piscotty found his stroke with a .313/.421/.781 batting line, quickly finding his way back to the major leagues. He was selected as the 26th man for Sunday's game in Williamsport, and will now stick around for the long haul with Luke Voit returning to Memphis Monday.
“I tried to make it a positive experience,” Piscotty said of his stint in Class-AAA. “Obviously it’s a little bit of a bummer to have to go through, but it was something that I definitely needed.
“I was trying to be optimistic about the opportunity to get some at-bats and play. I felt like I made the most of that opportunity, so looking back on it, I feel really good about it.”
Piscotty is in the lineup Tuesday, with Randal Grichuk the odd man out in the outfield. In Piscotty’s first game back with the big club Sunday, it was Tommy Pham who sat the bench. It will be interesting to watch how Matheny doles out playing time in the coming weeks, as the outfield is once again over capacity for St. Louis.