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With Holland added, Reyes moved to 60-day DL

Girsch: Decision doesn't indicate setback for Cardinals' top prospect
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

NEW YORK -- The signing of All-Star closer Greg Holland finally gave the Cardinals a concrete answer to their late-inning questions. It also forced a roster decision that required the club to shift its plans for top prospect Alex Reyes.

The club transferred Reyes to the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster for Holland, whom it officially signed to a one-year deal Saturday. The move precludes Reyes, who is nearing the finish line in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, from returning before May 28. The club had initially circled May 1 as a soft target date for Reyes' return.

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NEW YORK -- The signing of All-Star closer Greg Holland finally gave the Cardinals a concrete answer to their late-inning questions. It also forced a roster decision that required the club to shift its plans for top prospect Alex Reyes.

The club transferred Reyes to the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster for Holland, whom it officially signed to a one-year deal Saturday. The move precludes Reyes, who is nearing the finish line in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, from returning before May 28. The club had initially circled May 1 as a soft target date for Reyes' return.

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"This is in no way indicating a setback for Alex," general manager Michael Girsch said. "Early in the offseason, we said we'd push him back to May 1 because we felt running him out here for the whole season was too much risk for a guy who we consider a big part of our future. Now, with the moves we've made, we can be more conservative. Why even push this?"

A late May or early June return would put Reyes, the club's No.1 prospect per MLB Pipeline, more than 15 months removed from Tommy John surgery. Reyes remains at the club's Minor League complex in Jupiter, Fla., where he spent spring making incremental increases to his workload. Reyes faced live hitters several times on the back fields with an eye toward appearing in a Minor League game at some point in April at the earliest.

Video: Top Prospects: Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals

That timetable has been slowed now, but that has little to do with Reyes' health.

"More of what's changed is with our big league roster and with our options," Girsch said.

Keeping Reyes on the 10-day disabled list would've required the Cardinals to remove another player from the 40-man roster, like the promotion of Jordan Hicks did earlier in the week. That decision cost right-hander Josh Lucas, who was traded Saturday to the A's.

Moving Reyes to the 60-day disabled list allows the Cards to keep all their players -- and Reyes in their plans. They'll just have to wait a little longer. The club hopes Holland eliminates any late-inning needs it may have been forced to turn to Reyes to fill.

"It's amazing what he does to our bullpen," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Holland. "We've talked about a number of players we thought we could plug and play in different spots, but this creates a great staple we can then add to. This is a guy we know has had a lot of success at the back of the game, and we're anxious to get him in the mix."

Holland passed a physical Friday and will report next to St. Louis' Minor League complex in Jupiter, where he'll ramp up his throwing alongside Reyes. The club negotiated special language in his contract to allow it to technically option Holland to Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Because he was optioned, Holland must remain there for at least 10 days, over which he could appear in Minor League games.

A three-time All-Star and seven-year Major Leaguer, Holland had long surpassed the service time thresholds that protected him from Minor League assignment.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Greg Holland, Alex Reyes