Reyes sent to Triple-A in bullpen shakeup

Righty allowed 5 ER and 6 BB over 2 IP in last 3 appearances; Munoz also optioned

April 7th, 2019

ST. LOUIS -- Seeking fresh arms for the bullpen and a new setting for , the Cardinals made an assortment of roster moves prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Padres.

Reyes, the longtime top prospect whose assignment in the bullpen had gotten off to a tumultuous start, was optioned to Triple-A Memphis, along with utilityman . Their two roster spots went to left-hander and right-hander , both of whom will be immediately available out of the bullpen.

The decision to send out Reyes was actually made before Saturday’s game and relayed to the right-hander during an extended pregame meeting with manager Mike Shildt and members of the coaching staff and front office.

Collectively, the group agreed that scripted, multiple-inning appearances in the Minors would offer Reyes the best opportunity to get himself right after a string of three outings in which he walked six and surrendered five runs. The Cardinals plan to have Reyes pitch every few days as reliever and build up to about 30-40 pitches in his outings.

“Alex’s situation is unique because Alex is coming off of two years of not pitching,” Shildt said. “We just need to get him back to going through all the checkmarks of getting on a mound and throwing an inning after two years. Then we take that from there and we dovetail that into what it looks like for our club.”

Demoting Munoz along with Reyes wasn’t finalized until after Saturday’s 6-4 loss, which required another 3 1/3 innings from an already-weary bullpen. The Cardinals’ bullpen has had to cover 45 percent of the team’s innings through eight games, and with Dakota Hudson being shifted back to a starting role this week, the Cardinals sought additional protection.

“I told him we’re using our bullpen more than we’re using you. You just happen to be the victim of it,” Shildt said of his conversation with Munoz, who had logged four at-bats. “He understood.”

There’s a strong likelihood that Munoz will be rejoining the club soon, however, as the Cardinals will, by rule, have the luxury of adding an extra position player to their roster for next weekend’s series in Monterrey, Mexico.

Worth noting
• With the Cardinals’ rotation set for the Dodgers’ upcoming visit to Busch Stadium, the club has also solidified its starting pitching plans for its series in Mexico. and will start on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, when the team faces the Reds in Monterrey.