Injured Cardinals progressing toward returns

O'Neill, Cecil, Leone sent on rehab assignments; Wainwright faces live hitters; Martinez throws 'aggressive catch'

August 10th, 2018

KANSAS CITY -- Outfielder (groin inflammation) joined relievers (right foot inflammation) and (right arm nerve irritation) in Memphis on Friday to begin a rehab assignment with the Triple-A club. O'Neill is expected to play in games through Monday, after which time he'll be eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list.

Leone and Cecil, both of whom made an appearance in Memphis' win on Thursday, are likely to be ready to return next week, as well. In four appearances with the Redbirds, Leone has allowed two runs on four hits (including one home run) while walking two and striking out three. Cecil has allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.

Starters and also continue to make progress in their rehab programs. Interim manager Mike Shildt said he received "favorable" reports on Wainwright after the veteran right-hander faced hitters during a live batting practice session in Jupiter, Fla. on Friday. Wainwright will either repeat the exercise or begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Palm Beach (Fla.) early next week.

After spending time with the club in Miami, Martinez returned to St. Louis, where he threw what Shildt described as "aggressive catch." Martinez has been sidelined since July 31 with a right shoulder strain.

Brebbia lands on DL

After initially announcing that had been optioned to Triple-A Memphis, the Cardinals transferred the right-handed reliever to the 10-day DL with right forearm tightness. That transaction is backdated to Aug. 6.

"We could have pushed it, he could have pushed it, but we just wanted to get it behind him," Shildt said. "It's a real mild forearm strain, closer to the hand. Nobody is concerned about anything structurally. It's just one of those things we want to get behind him."

The Cardinals removed Brebbia from the active roster after Monday's game in order to create space for newly-acquired pitcher . Though Brebbia has been on and off the Cardinals' 25-man roster five times this season due to promotions and demotions, this represents his first stint on the DL.

Extra bat

After weeks of trying to find ample offensive opportunities without exposing him too much on the defensive side, this Interleague Series offers the Cardinals the chance to do both. Martinez served as the club's designated hitter for Friday's series opener.

Shildt, however, was not ready to commit to using Martinez in that role for all three games.

"We're really going to take inventory after seeing what it looks like today and then go from there," Shildt explained. "Clearly it's an opportunity for him. We'll take it as we go each day. There may be an opportunity for another guy to get a DH day as well."

Worth noting

• Thursday's off day offered a few members of the Cardinals the chance to spend some time at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which has been in Kansas City since 1990. Broadcaster Mike Claiborne organized the trip and was joined by coach Willie McGee, shortstop , outfielder and starting pitcher on the private tour. Claiborne estimated that the group spent two hours visiting the galleries inside the museum.

• The Cardinals have extended their player development contract with the State College Spikes an additional two years, taking that agreement through the 2020 season. State College, a member of the New York-Penn League, is home to one of the Cardinals' short-season rookie ball affiliates.

• Memphis manager Stubby Clapp has been chosen to manage the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League later this year. In that capacity, Clapp will oversee some of the top prospects from the Cardinals, Pirates, Royals, Rangers and Blue Jays organizations. Rosters for the AFL season will be unveiled later this month. The season runs from Oct. 9 - Nov. 17.