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Cards call up Socolovich, option Cooney

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals called up right-hander Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A Memphis before Friday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The team optioned righty Tim Cooney to Memphis and moved outfielder Tommy Pham (left quadriceps) from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Socolovich on the 40-man roster.

Cooney's short Major League debut against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday necessitated the move. Cooney lasted just 2 1/3 innings in a 9-3 Cardinals win, forcing manager Mike Matheny to use five relievers.

Video: [email protected]: Cooney fans Francoeur for first ML strikeout

Socolovich didn't surrender a run in seven appearances at Memphis this season. In 12 2/3 innings, he allowed five hits and struck out nine, but possibly more importantly, he went two or more innings in five of his seven relief appearances.

"He's giving us some more options and protecting the arms out there," Matheny said.

Socolovich, 28, pitched six games each in relief with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles in 2012. He is 0-0 for his career with a 6.06 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings.

Though the butterflies of being called up to the big leagues are gone, Socolovich admits to having a different kind of feeling with this callup. The Cardinals were his favorite team as a kid and Ozzie Smith was his favorite player.

Playing for the Cardinals is a dream come true.

"I grew up watching the games back home in Venezuela," Socolovich said. "With all the history they have, it's awesome being here."

Matheny said the club tested Socolovich in Spring Training by putting him in some high leverage spots and having him close some games.

"He's had some experience," Matheny said. "We knew he had a very good changeup and he was able to make some pitches with his offspeed and throw it in just about any count and every count, and he showed a good fastball too. I think he can be effective against lefties and righties."

Joe Harris is a contributor to
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