ST. LOUIS -- Ryan Sherriff interrupted a video call with a friend Tuesday night to take a call from Triple-A Memphis manager Stubby Clapp. Clapp opened the conversation by asking Sherriff if he had some free time the next day to go looking for a new car.
Sherriff declined Clapp's first invitation. He then turned emotional with the second.
For after informing Clapp that he already had an appointment to sell his car Wednesday afternoon, Clapp told him to rearrange those plans and start packing. Following seven seasons in the Minors, Sherriff had earned his summons to St. Louis, which purchased his contract Wednesday hoping the lefty can help stabilize a wobbly 'pen.
"There were times when I lost hope [that this day would come], but I had my friends and family keeping faith for me," Sherriff said. "It's been a journey for me. Seven years. Words can't describe it."
Sherriff, perhaps best remembered as the Minor League pitcher who, after walking to Spring Training every day, was surprised with a rental car by Adam Wainwright, put himself on the Cardinals' radar during camp. That served as a springboard into the season, where he posted a 3.19 ERA and 0.988 WHIP over 53 2/3 innings. Sherriff struck out 47 and walked 13.
"A big thing for me was Spring Training," said Sherriff, a former 28th-round pick. "I went in there at 26 years old and had nothing to lose. I just went out there and gave it my all. I think I would pitch with a little bit of fear in my past seasons, just afraid to fail. I think this year I finally got over that."
Sherriff is the latest reliever plucked to help plug the Cardinals' leaky bullpen, which entered Wednesday having allowed 20 earned runs over the last six games (22 2/3 innings). Within the last week, the Cardinals have shuffled Mike Mayers and Josh Lucas through the 'pen before deciding it was time to give Sherriff his first chance.
In a corresponding move Wednesday, Lucas was optioned back to Memphis. The Cardinals cleared space for Sherriff on the 40-man roster by transferring Trevor Rosenthal, who will have Tommy John surgery, to the 60-day disabled list.
One man short
The Cardinals played Wednesday's game with a three-man bench after the medical staff sent an ill Matt Carpenter home. Manager Mike Matheny said Carpenter was diagnosed with a virus, and he was not certain whether Carpenter would be healthy enough to return Thursday.
Carpenter's absence led to a defensive shuffle for St. Louis, which slid Jedd Gyorko to first and started Greg Garcia at third base.