Cards support Piscotty after mom's passing

May 7th, 2018

ST. LOUIS -- Condolences poured in from across the baseball world on Monday after the A's announced 's mother, Gretchen, had died after a battle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Few places felt the loss more acutely than in St. Louis, where Piscotty played his first three big league seasons.

Drafted and developed by the Cardinals, the club traded Piscotty this past offseason in part so he could be closer to his family and help care for his mother, who was diagnosed with ALS in May 2017. She was 55 and is also survived by her husband, Mike, along with her sons, Austin and Nick.

"She was a first-class lady, and I got to spend some time with them, knowing Stephen from the Draft all the way through," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's been a tough go for them. I'm thinking about and praying for their family."

Matheny was far from the only member of the organization to reach out to Stephen Piscotty on Monday to offer condolences.

"From the moment we drafted and signed Stephen, he and his family became a part of the Cardinal family," club president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a statement. "We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gretchen and want to let Stephen and his family know that we pass on our heartfelt condolences."

The Caridnals released the following message on their official Twitter account: "We are saddened to learn of the passing of former #STLCards outfielder Stephen Piscotty's mother, Gretchen. Sending our love and prayers to Stephen and the entire Piscotty family."

The outreach was universal, including members of the rival Cubs. Right-hander donated $10,000 to a YouCaring page set up by Piscotty to fund ALS research.

"We are all family," Darvish wrote on Twitter.

Blue Jays outfielder , one of Piscotty's closest teammates from 2015-17, tweeted: "Deeply saddened to hear the news about Gretchen Piscotty. Gone way too soon. Thoughts and prayers with Stephen and his whole family!"

After establishing himself as an above-average offensive player over his first two seasons, Piscotty's production took a step back in 2017 after his mother's diagnosis. He hit .235/.342/.367 across 107 games, missing periods of time to be at home with his family. Looking to unclutter their outfield picture that offseason, the Cardinals traded Piscotty to the A's for and in a December deal Mozeliak called "two-fold."

The move meant Piscotty would play home games just a short drive from his hometown of Pleasanton, Calif.

"I'm just hurting for him," Matheny said. "Understand that as much of a façade guys put on, life happens. A lot of the things people know about. A lot they don't. There are a lot of things we need to take into account and help them through. There is never an easy answer for something like that. You can't put a template on how to go through that or how to handle it, but Stephen is a first-class guy himself. Great family, and we're hurting for them all the way through."

Wainwright lines up return

Right-hander (elbow) tossed five scoreless innings in a rehab start at Double-A Springfield on Monday and reported no issues. He said he's preparing to start in the big leagues in five days' time, which would line him up to start on Saturday against the Padres at Petco Park.

Mayers optioned

A corresponding roster move was required to activate for his start on Monday against the Twins. was optioned to Triple-A Memphis to make room, a night after he earned the win by throwing the last three innings of Sunday's dramatic 4-3 walk-off victory over the Cubs.

Injury updates

The Cardinals remain confident that Tommy Pham's tight groin won't require a stint on the disabled list. Pham was out of the starting lineup for the second straight day on Monday after aggrevating the issue on Saturday. He was available to pinch-hit.

was unavailable for the second straight day on Monday as the Cardinals' closer battles triceps tightness. Norris' injury isn't expected to require a DL stint, but it did spark a conversation with Norris and Matheny about the right-hander's workload. Norris appeared in 17 of the club's first 31 games, over which he was their most reliable reliever.