BALTIMORE -- Though the Cardinals are having Michael Wacha prepare to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday, manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the club is "looking at everything" as it seeks to find a way to get the right-hander back on track.The Cardinals' medical staff continues to be especially
BALTIMORE -- Though the Cardinals are having Michael Wacha prepare to make his next scheduled start on Wednesday, manager Mike Matheny acknowledged that the club is "looking at everything" as it seeks to find a way to get the right-hander back on track.
The Cardinals' medical staff continues to be especially vigilant with Wacha's health, given the concerns about a possible recurrence of a shoulder stress reaction that cost him time in 2014 and '16. Nothing has been found yet to suggest that he's physically compromised. The red flag, rather, has been the results.
"I know it's frustrating, because he's been working hard trying to keep that strength up and be able to be the kind of pitcher late in the game that he's been often times early on," Matheny said. "We're going to continue to talk with the medical team, continue to talk with Michael, continue to talk with the pitching coaches to figure out what's going to be best."
Since opening the season with seven straight starts of at least six innings, Wacha has made it through five innings once in his last five. He's posted an 8.86 ERA during that stretch, walking 14 in 21 1/3 innings. Also concerning is how much success opponents are having against him the second (.347/.411/.516) and third (.360/.429/.520) time through the order.
A move to the bullpen would help Wacha avoid facing hitters multiple times in an appearance, and it is on the table as an option. If the Cardinals go that route, they could have him swap spots with Tyler Lyons or replace him with one of their Triple-A starters.
One thing the Cardinals don't plan to do is use Monday's off-day as an opportunity to skip Wacha's turn in the rotation, as they did once in May.
"I think to not take advantage of that extra day for all of the other starters may not be in our best interest," noted Matheny.
Brebbia finding a fit
Acknowledging that he knew little to nothing about John Brebbia when the season started, Matheny has recently begun to see the rookie right-hander as an option in key middle-inning spots.
Brebbia has been scored upon once in eight appearances and has allowed three of eight inherited runners to score. His work wiggling out of a jam was especially impressive on Thursday, when he came into a bases-loaded, no-out mess and gave up just one run.
"I think there's only so many guys who have the stuff and then the mentality to come in and thrive with guys on base, especially with men in scoring position in a big situation," Matheny said. "He could, I think, continue to be one of those guys we use."
It's been an unexpected rise for Brebbia, who two years ago was pitching in the Independent League.
"I still feel like I'm so fortunate and happy to be here that it almost doesn't feel real," Brebbia said. "It feels a little surreal to a certain extent. I try to do it as best I can on a day-to-day basis to help the team and stick around."
• Luke Weaver, who exited his start on Sunday after 2 1/3 innings due to back tightness, is not scheduled to pitch during this next turn through the Triple-A Memphis rotation. The Cardinals have not announced when they expect him to return to the mound.
• Ninth-round Draft pick Evan Kruczynski has signed for $3,000, MLB.com's Jim Callis confirmed. Kruczysnki had little leverage for a higher bonus since he just wrapped up his senior season at East Carolina University. The savings were significant for the Cardinals, given that the slot value for the pick was $140,600. The organization can allot the rest of that money elsewhere.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, and Facebook.