ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The roster of backstops for the Cardinals got thinner Thursday, as the team announced top catching prospect Carson Kelly will join Yadier Molina on the disabled list.
Kelly suffered a right hamstring strain. and will be on the 10-day DL for the time being. The injury didn't manifest in a noticeable way and in fact manager Mike Matheny didn't find out until the next morning.
Trainers then took a look at Kelly's hamstring and identified the strain.
27-year-old Steve Baron was called up from Triple-A Memphis to replace Kelly and will back up Francisco Pena.
"With Carson going down, we had to add a catcher just to give us protection," President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said. "No one ever envisions having two catchers on the DL, but here we are."
That protection came at a cost.
To make room for Baron on the 40 man roster, the Cardinals moved Adam Wainwright, who recently returned to the 10 day DL with elbow inflammation, to the 60-day DL; meaning he is out until at least July.
"It’s a situation where we just need time to get him healed up. Doctors are still running tests to find out exactly what we’re looking at," Matheny said.
Tests on Wainwright's elbow have thus far been inconclusive, with no readily identifiable injury (ligament damage, bone bruise, etc.) to cause the inflammation and discomfort.
Without the need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, Mozeliak said he may not have moved Wainwright to the 60-day DL- at least not right away. But now that he has, he views it as giving the veteran time to recover without the pressure of a quick return.
"Once you get put on the 60, it does take a little pressure off to push this too quickly. Now we can take a little bit of a breath," Mozeliak said, adding that at this point, he expects Wainwright to return as part of the second half push.
OTHER INJURY UPDATES
The Cardinals have had five players go on the disabled list in the past week: Carlos Martínez (right lat strain), Tyler Lyons (mid back strain), Wainwright (right elbow inflammation), Luke Gregerson. (right shoulder impingement) and now Kelly. Molina has been out since May 6.
Originally there was optimism Martinez could return for his start Saturday, but the team has since cooled on that expectation. The righty's recovery was sluggish, and he underwent a second MRI Thursday to determine his status, a move the team categorized as preventative.
"We just wanted a little more clarity before we gave him the green light to move forward," Mozeliak said.
The team is preparing for John Gant to start Saturday against the Phillies in Martinez's stead.
Yadier Molina is still recovering, and the team will likely not have a firm target date for his return until next week. They hope to have a projected recovery timetable for Kelly by the weekend.
Alex Reyes is closing in on a return to the Cardinals, with two more rehab appearances scheduled before the club evaluates activating him.
He's thrown 8.1 scoreless innings so far at Low-A and High-A, striking out 18 and allowing three walks and five hits. His velocity has returned and he hit 100 mph in his most recent start.
Even with the rash of injuries, the Cardinals aren't looking to rush his return, instead taking the long view.
"It’s exciting to watch what he’s doing and say, ‘we’d like to have that right now,’ but we have to stay the course with what the original plan was," Matheny said. "That’s for Alex’s good and the good of the organization in the long haul."
Mozeliak anticipated Reyes will have one more rehab after this Saturday's Double-A start, and then a decision will be made.