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Belisle lands on DL; Cards call up Hatley

ST. LOUIS -- Five days after first feeling stiffness near his right elbow and forearm, Matt Belisle was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday in a move that the Cardinals hope will give the right-handed reliever the necessary time to heal from the injury. Reliever Marcus Hatley had his contract purchased from Triple-A to fill the bullpen vacancy.

Belisle did not pitch in the Cardinals' weekend series against the Cubs, but it wasn't publicly known until Tuesday that his absence had been intentional. About an hour after throwing a scoreless inning in an appearance against the Marlins last Thursday, Belisle began to feel soreness in his arm. He woke up the following day with a limited range of motion.

Belisle did not throw for three days but asked the Cardinals to postpone placing him on the DL until he tested his arm again on Monday. When that didn't go well, the move was made. He was diagnosed with right elbow inflammation.

"I just spent [Monday] doing everything I could to pitch today," Belisle said Tuesday. "I was here, and then went to another form of rehab and did some home therapy. I just did everything I could. But after playing catch and how it responded today, we knew that it wasn't quite ready. Everybody agreed that, against what I want, it's best for the team."

Various tests, including an ultrasound, have not revealed any reason for concern about structural damage around Belisle's elbow.

"I know as far as the big red flags, all that stuff was out," Belisle said. "That's very good news, that nothing structurally is compromised. At the same time, it's frustrating, because we don't have a point to look at yet. We just have to get the swelling down and do another assessment."

Belisle has been a key arm in the Cardinals' bullpen this year. He's served mostly as a bridge to the late-inning arms and has a 3.00 ERA over 30 appearances. He has been placed on the DL since 2008, when a knee injury ended his season with Cincinnati.

Belisle is eligible to come off the DL on July 12, though with that being the day before the All-Star break, the Cardinals could build in five extra days of rest by waiting to activate him later that week.

"This is tough for him, but it could be a good break to get things right," manager Mike Matheny said. "The medical team doesn't seem overly concerned."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
Read More: St. Louis Cardinals, Marcus Hatley, Matt Belisle