Cardinals promote 10-year Minors veteran

June 18th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- After playing 838 games over parts of 10 seasons in the Minors, first baseman/outfielder finally earned his call to the Majors.

The Cardinals purchased Ravelo’s contract on Monday while also moving Yairo Munoz to the paternity list. Ravelo learned of the assignment on Sunday, calling it “pretty much one of the best Father’s Day gifts I could ever imagine.”

“I always had faith that this day would come,” he added. “Obviously I had a lot of time in the Minors, but I always had the hope that this day would come.”

Ravelo had toiled in the Minors since 2010, when he was a sixth-round Draft pick by the White Sox. He later played in Oakland’s system before signing a Minor League contract with the Cardinals in April 2017. He’s been one of Triple-A Memphis’ most prolific hitters ever since.

After posting an OPS of .863 and .879, respectively, with the Redbirds in 2017 and ’18, Ravelo joins the Cardinals having hit .333/.414/.543 in 63 games this season. He ranks seventh in the Pacific Coast League with 73 hits and recently put together a 19-game hitting streak.

“He’s a guy who has put his time in and done all he really needs to do and more to get an opportunity to play in the big leagues,” manager Mike Shildt said. “He’s been good for us the last couple of years, and it’s good to see him get the opportunity.”

Ravelo got his first Major League at-bat in the seventh inning of Monday's 5-0 Cardinals win over the Marlins. He grounded out, but received a nice ovation from a crowd that was aware of the arduous journey he'd been on to get to that moment.

Ravelo will serve as a backup at first base and both corner outfield spots while he’s on the big league roster. How long he remains with the Cardinals will be determined by various factors, some of which are out of his control.

The club is expected to activate Jedd Gyorko from the injured list on Tuesday, which would require a corresponding roster move. The Cardinals will also have to make another move on Thursday when Munoz returns.

Rotation reshuffling
It will be who draws the start for the Cardinals against Miami on Wednesday, Shildt confirmed. Ponce de Leon labored over four innings at Citi Field last Friday, but managed to limit the Mets to one run on two hits over the 71-pitch start. It was enough to warrant another opportunity to showcase himself in front of a team that hasn’t solidified the back end of its rotation.

There should be more rotation clarity by the end of the week, however, as is nearing a return from the injured list. Wainwright, who has been sidelined by a left hamstring strain since his June 9 start, threw “a very favorable bullpen [session]” on Monday, Shildt reported. He is expected to start for the Cardinals either on Thursday or Friday.

Wainwright’s return will not knock back into the bullpen -- at least, not for now. He’s likely to start whatever day Wainwright doesn’t as the Cardinals give him a chance to bounce back from a four-inning start against the Mets.

The insertion of a sixth starter this week will give others in the rotation an extra day off during this stretch of 20 games in 20 days. The Cardinals are likely to revert to employing five starters once the rotation turns over next. That could cost Wacha or Ponce de Leon their spot.

From the trainer’s room
• Ryan Helsley (right shoulder impingement) has responded well to treatment and was cleared to resume playing catch. The Cardinals are optimistic that Helsley won’t require a cortisone shot, which would delay his return. As it is, he is eligible to come off the injured list next Sunday.

• Mike Mayers threw a pain-free bullpen session on Monday and is slated to get back on the mound to throw again on Thursday. If that goes well, the Cardinals will create a simulated game opportunity in either St. Louis or Jupiter, Fla., on Sunday so that Mayers can test his pitches against batters. Mayers has been sidelined since April 16 with a right shoulder lat strain and was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Monday.

Worth noting
• Longtime top prospect Alex Reyes is slated to start for Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday, when he’ll try to build upon the three-inning, 69-pitch outing he had on Thursday. Reyes was under consideration for Wednesday’s start before the Cards settled on Ponce de Leon.

• The Cardinals announced the signings of four more Draft picks, including right-hander Thomas Hart (16th round), catcher Zade Richardson (22nd), right-hander Eric Lex (27th) and lefty Dylan Pearce (31st). The organization has now agreed to terms with 28 of its 40 selections.