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St. Louis Cardinals' Jose Martinez rounds third after hitting a solo home run off Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Chris Archer during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

September 1 has brought expanded rosters and a fresh cast of characters to the Cardinals for the stretch run.

The Cardinals announced Sunday that the team has activated Jose Martinez from the injured list and recalled Rangel Ravelo, Genesis Cabrera, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Junior Fernandez and Andrew Knizner from Memphis. The team also purchased the contracts of Mike Mayers and catcher Joe Hudson from Memphis. The team's 40-man roster stood at 39 before Sunday's flurry of activity, and the team shifted Lane Thomas to the 60-day injured list to make room for Mayers and Hudson. This means, as anticipated when his wrist fracture was announced, the end of Thomas' season.

As for the rest of the moves, the Cardinals have added valuable depth to the bullpen for the stretch run, which could pay immediate dividends Sunday as St. Louis plays its second double header in as many days. Ponce de Leon's ERA with St. Louis this season is a respectable 3.76, but his numbers in Memphis lately have been even more impressive. For the season, he carried a 2.88 ERA in 16 Triple-A starts. He is expected to start the second game of the Sunday double header.

Every player added to the Cardinals roster Sunday has already seen some playing time for St. Louis at some point this season, with the exception of Joe Hudson. Backup catcher Matt Wieters is dealing with a calf issue, so Hudson represents insurance to fellow catcher Andrew Knizner behind Yadier Molina.

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