DENVER -- So ecstatic was Dominic Leone (Dominator) to be back in a Major League uniform, he sprinted from the dugout tunnel Sunday afternoon, threw his hands up and literally danced his way onto Coors Field."This is what a field looks like!" Leone yelled, before joining his stretching teammates on
DENVER -- So ecstatic was Dominic Leone (Dominator) to be back in a Major League uniform, he sprinted from the dugout tunnel Sunday afternoon, threw his hands up and literally danced his way onto Coors Field.
"This is what a field looks like!" Leone yelled, before joining his stretching teammates on the outfield grass.
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Thus began a joyous afternoon for Leone, whose return to the Cardinals comes after nearly four months on the disabled list with nerve irritation in his right biceps.
St. Louis summoned Leone on Sunday to fill the roster spot of Mike Mayers, who was placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation. The right-hander was removed from Saturday's 9-1 loss to the Rockies after his velocity dropped suspiciously. He said he'd been dealing with fatigue and soreness for the better part of a week.
"I don't know if it's that time of the year or what's going on," Mayers said. "The best way to describe it is, I feel really good up to 80 percent. Then I struggle to getting to 100 percent. I just don't have that extra gear in the tank."
Leone said his arrival in Denver on Sunday felt like Opening Day after the righty spent the bulk of the spring and summer largely inactive. Leone was limited to message therapy, stretching and treatment for more than two months after sustaining a sudden and vague nerve injury on May 4, which had he and the Cardinals searching for answers.
In the end, Leone was told a nerve in his right arm had been compressed and stretched, causing painful inflammation. He spent nearly 30 days on rehab assignment at Triple-A Memphis, where he pitched to a 7.20 ERA in 10 appearances.
"Swollen nerves don't make for happy arms," Leone said. "As crazy as it sounds, it really felt like I hadn't thrown all year. I had so much time off, it was like rebooting the engine again."
The Cardinals had hoped for Leone to factor heavily into their late-inning picture after acquiring him from the Blue Jays in the deal for Randal Grichuk last offseason. He now rejoins what "feels like a different team" than the one he left.
Prior to his injury, Leone went 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 16 appearances, striking out 15 over 13 innings. He pitched to a 2.56 ERA across 70 appearances in 2017 for the Blue Jays.
"This team is as hot as ever, and for me to jump right into the mix is going to be awesome," Leone said. "It's been a hell of a ride, I'll tell you that."
ADDITIONAL ROSTER MOVE
In another bullpen-related move, the Cardinals released Ryan Sherriff, who is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. The left-hander pitched to a 4.05 ERA in 18 appearances for St. Louis over the past two seasons.
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, AGAIN
Down in Memphis, Leone helped the Redbirds earn their second straight Pacific Coast League American Southern Division crown, which they clinched Saturday with a 4-3 win over Nashville. The back-to-back division titles are the first for the Redbirds since 2009-10, and 17th total in the affiliate's history. Last season, Memphis parlayed its interdivision success into an overall PCL championship.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.