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Cards ace Martinez goes on DL with lat strain

Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Carlos Martinez finished his outing Tuesday and welcomed a postgame visitor. Manager Mike Matheny wanted to know how his right-handed ace felt.

"He said he was a little tight at the beginning and then [his arm] loosened up,'' Matheny said. "But he didn't feel like had had his four-seamer, and that was the first I think any of us knew about it."

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SAN DIEGO -- Carlos Martinez finished his outing Tuesday and welcomed a postgame visitor. Manager Mike Matheny wanted to know how his right-handed ace felt.

"He said he was a little tight at the beginning and then [his arm] loosened up,'' Matheny said. "But he didn't feel like had had his four-seamer, and that was the first I think any of us knew about it."

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The Cardinals will be without Martinez for at least the next week and a half after placing him on the 10-day disabled list with a right lat strain, the club announced Thursday.

St. Louis recalled righty Mike Mayers from Triple-A Memphis to take Martinez's spot on the active roster.

General manager Mike Girsch said it's possible Martinez could miss only one start because of the schedule.

"He was more sore than normal, so we did an MRI and he saw a doctor, and given that it is a very mild lat strain, and with an off-day yesterday, and off-day Monday, the right thing to do was to give him a little break." Girsch said. "Hopefully he is ready to go in two weeks.''

Martinez entered play Thursday leading the National League with a 1.62 ERA and tops the Cardinals' pitching staff with 50 innings pitched and 47 strikeouts. The two-time All-Star has surrendered just one home run to the 210 batters he's faced this season.

In the 26-year-old Martinez's last outing, he took his second loss of the season after allowing four runs (two earned) in five innings against the Twins. It's tough timing for the first-place Cardinals, who lost catcher Yadier Molina for the next month with a groin injury.

"We've been losing quite a few here lately, and we'd like to put an end to that,'' Matheny said. "But you deal with it.''

Mayers was optioned Monday after picking up a victory with three innings of one-run ball in relief during a 14-inning affair against the Cubs on May 6. Mayers is 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA and a save in five appearances, all out of the bullpen, for St. Louis this year.

Waino update
There was encouraging news regarding right-hander Adam Wainwright as he rebounds from a sore elbow. After a clean bullpen session on Thursday, it's likely he'll start in Sunday's series finale in San Diego. Another option would be right-hander John Gant, but all signs point to Wainwright.

"We still have a few balls in the air before we make a decision,'' Girsch said.

Wainwright, who underwent elbow surgery last fall, stressed that he's ready to go.

"I'm just waiting for them to tell me what to do,'' said Wainwright, who threw five scoreless innings on Monday for Double-A Springfield.

It's a different Wainwright that the Padres could see. He's tinkered with his arm slot and release point in trying to relieve stress from his elbow.

"The good thing is he is getting people out,'' Girsch said. "If he feels good and can't pitch effectively, that doesn't do us or him any good. I don't think the Waino of a few years ago is ever coming back at this point, so he is evolving. This evolution started in Spring Training and this is a continuation of Waino working with what he has."

Bud time
Reliever Bud Norris is again among Matheny's bullpen options after taking some time off. Norris had to leave Saturday's game with a sore triceps muscle after appearing in 17 of the club's first 31 games.

"He's ready to go,'' Matheny said.

Flaherty fans 13
Jack Flaherty struck out 13 batters on Wednesday night at Triple-A Memphis.

"It sounded like his slider was right and he had little more juice with the ball jumping out of his hand a little by velocity at least,'' Mathney said. "When you see those strikeouts, you know the slider is sharp.''

Depending on how the rotation shakes out, the right-handed Flaherty could get a start next week.

Bat Girl named
Major League Baseball announced its honorary bat girls for Mother's Day, and Kathy Koke has been selected as the Cardinals' representative in support of MLB's "Going To Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative. Koke, a St. Louis resident, is celebrating six years of being cancer-free, but she continues to donate her time to fight the disease.

For Mother's Day, all players will wear newly designed caps with uniforms featuring a pink ribbon. Louisville Slugger will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer, and MLB will again donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer.

Jay Paris is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

St. Louis Cardinals, Carlos Martinez