Tejada helps bullpen out in pitching debut

May 21st, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- Friday night's results aside, Ruben Tejada considered it a positive outcome when, a day after making his pitching debut, he woke up able to raise his right arm.

Indeed, the biggest residual effect of the one-inning relief stint wasn't so much felt by Tejada as it was by the Cardinals' bullpen, which needed the reprieve in an 11-7 loss to the D-backs. A four-inning start by Michael Wacha on Thursday followed by a five-inning outing from Carlos Martinez on Friday left the 'pen lagging.

Tejada, who was not available for comment after his pitching performance on Friday, confirmed on Saturday that it was his first time on the mound in a decade. He had dabbled in pitching "a little bit" before signing with the Mets out of Panama as a 16-year-old in 2006.

Mixed results in Tejada's outing

"I tried to do my best," Tejada said. "I tried to protect the bullpen a little bit. You have to do something for the team to keep everyone fresh."

Tejada featured two pitches -- a fastball and a slider -- and saw two of those fastballs tattooed for solo home runs by Chris Herrmann and Brandon Drury.

"Bad location," Tejada said.

Once manager Mike Matheny decided he didn't want to use another true reliever, his options were limited. He had pegged Tejada as a potential pitching option a while ago, after seeing his arm strength on throws across the diamond. Infielder Jedd Gyorko had also previously lobbied for the opportunity.

Tejada took the mound cold, not having had the time to go down into the indoor cage to warm up. But he made it through the inning on 19 pitches. Tejada became the first Cardinals position player since Daniel Descalso on May 12, 2014, to pitch in a game.

"Two runs," Tejada said in summary. "But three outs."

Worth noting 

• Shortstop Jhonny Peralta played four innings in the field and went 0-for-2 in his first rehab assignment game with Class A Peoria (Ill.) on Friday. Peralta is expected to play about the same amount in Saturday's game, as well, as he eases back into game action. Peralta had been out since early March while recovering from left thumb surgery.

Top prospect Alex Reyes will make his season debut on Sunday when Triple-A Memphis hosts Fresno in a 2:05 pm CT game. The pitcher missed the first several weeks of the season as he finished serving a 50-game suspension he received for testing positive for marijuana use last November.