Left-hander leaves game against Dodgers with shoulder tightness
LOS ANGELES -- After having to ask his bullpen to cover seven innings in the team's 5-3 loss to the Dodgers on Saturday, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny indicated that plans were in motion to have another pitcher in uniform for Sunday's series finale at Dodger Stadium.
The Cardinals could open up a roster spot for an additional reliever by moving John Gast, who exited his start on Saturday in the second inning with left shoulder tightness, to the disabled list. Another possibility -- though not seemingly as likely -- is that the club has one of its current relievers begin building back up as a starter.
The organization has nine pitchers on its 40-man roster who are currently pitching in the Minors. Of those, Maikel Cleto would not be under consideration for a call-up, since he pitched six innings in a start on Friday.
Keith Butler, Eric Fornataro, Sam Freeman, Jorge Rondon, Kevin Siegrist, Marc Rzepczynski and Victor Marte are currently pitching in the Triple-A bullpen. Michael Blazek has had a strong season in Double-A.
The Cardinals will head into Sunday's game without the availability of Joe Kelly, who threw 62 pitches in a three-plus-inning relief appearance on Saturday. There may also be limitations in how much the Cardinals can use Mitchell Boggs, Seth Maness and Randy Choate, as all three were used for an inning on Friday and Saturday.
As for Gast, the Cardinals did not speculate on the severity of the shoulder injury that forced him from the game after facing six batters on Saturday. Gast described his shoulder as "tight and weak," adding that he had never felt that type of discomfort in the back part of his shoulder.
His spot is due up again in the rotation on Thursday. If he is unable to start that game, the Cardinals will have to find yet another spot starter to take his place, after losing starters Jake Westbrook and Jaime Garcia earlier this month to injury.