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Leone may move to DL with nerve issue in arm

Reliever felt right biceps 'ball up' during warmup pitches
MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- A routine warmup pitch turned unusually worrisome for Cardinals reliever Dominic Leone in Friday's 3-2 win against the Cubs. Subsequent testing revealed a nerve issue that is expected to land the right-hander on the disabled list.

The club plans to place Leone on the DL prior to Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, at which point a corresponding move will be made. Saturday's quick turnaround did not give the Cardinals ample time to summon another player from Triple-A in time for first pitch. Already carrying nine relievers, the club could afford to play down an arm for a day.

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ST. LOUIS -- A routine warmup pitch turned unusually worrisome for Cardinals reliever Dominic Leone in Friday's 3-2 win against the Cubs. Subsequent testing revealed a nerve issue that is expected to land the right-hander on the disabled list.

The club plans to place Leone on the DL prior to Sunday's series finale against the Cubs, at which point a corresponding move will be made. Saturday's quick turnaround did not give the Cardinals ample time to summon another player from Triple-A in time for first pitch. Already carrying nine relievers, the club could afford to play down an arm for a day.

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How long they'll be without Leone remains to be seen. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was vague in describing Leone's injury, which was originally labeled a "right biceps cramp" on Friday night. Matheny called the possible nerve involvement "concerning."

Leone described the injury as muscular, and his removal from Friday's win precautionary.

Called on to face Willson Contreras in the eighth inning, Leone never did. He walked off the field with the club training staff after two warmup pitches, shaking his right arm and visibly frustrated.

"When you see that kind of reaction, and he's grabbing toward the middle of his arm, you think the worst," Matheny said on Friday.

Treatment immediately followed, during which the training staff determined Leone's arm did not sustain any structural damange, Matheny said.

Leone said he felt his biceps "ball up," when extending to throw his first two warmup pitches, a sensation he'd never felt before while throwing.

"It was something I didn't want to mess with," Leone said. "We wanted to make sure it was addressed instead of just thrown to the wayside."

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Acquired in a trade from Toronto this winter, Leone is 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 16 appearances out of the Cardinals' bullpen this season, mostly in middle relief. He was relieved Friday by Luke Gregerson, who retired Contreras and Kyle Schwarber before handing the ball to Bud Norris for the ninth.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Dominic Leone