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Lat strain sending Rosenthal to disabled list

MLB.com

Trevor Rosenthal's lingering right lat strain has landed him on the 10-day disabled list to start the season, the Cardinals announced Thursday. The move creates a roster spot for right-hander Sam Tuivailala, who had been competing for a bullpen spot before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis last Wednesday.

Rosenthal had missed time earlier this spring due to discomfort around his lat muscle, and when he received an MRI in early March, he said it revealed only inflammation. The time away left him playing catch-up as he battled for a rotation spot, a role he'd aspired to since being called up in 2012.

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Trevor Rosenthal's lingering right lat strain has landed him on the 10-day disabled list to start the season, the Cardinals announced Thursday. The move creates a roster spot for right-hander Sam Tuivailala, who had been competing for a bullpen spot before being optioned to Triple-A Memphis last Wednesday.

Rosenthal had missed time earlier this spring due to discomfort around his lat muscle, and when he received an MRI in early March, he said it revealed only inflammation. The time away left him playing catch-up as he battled for a rotation spot, a role he'd aspired to since being called up in 2012.

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Rosenthal made one start this spring, on March 16 against the Twins, but had mixed results. In Grapefruit League play, he threw 10 innings over five outings with a 1.80 ERA, 11 strikeouts and a 1.50 WHIP.

Manager Mike Matheny dispelled any speculation of Rosenthal's status as a starter by announcing his five-man contingent in mid-March: Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Mike Leake and Michael Wacha, in order.

Once a lights-out closer who compiled 93 saves from 2014-15, Rosenthal struggled with pitch efficiency last year and missed seven weeks with right rotator cuff inflammation. He averaged 21 pitches per inning, an uptick of four pitches per inning than the year prior, and his ERA more than doubled to 4.46. Batters also hit Rosenthal at a .293 clip.

The Cardinals have flirted with many ideas of how they will use Rosenthal in 2017, though that will largely depend on how he manages his pitch count. He could be a multiple-inning reliever or potentially become a setup man.

Tuivailala struck out 11 over his first four Grapefruit outings, all scoreless, but one poor outing against the Marlins ballooned his Spring Training ERA to 5.40. He was among many battling for a bullpen spot before being optioned.

The Cardinals have three off-days over their first 10-game stretch, which reduces the immediate urgency in their bullpen. Rosenthal is one of four Cardinals who will begin the year on the DL, along with left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons (right knee), and right-handed pitchers John Gant (right groin) and Alex Reyes (Tommy John surgery)

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

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