SAN DIEGO -- Looking to send a charge into their struggling offense while also finding a way to get consistent playing time for one of their top young infielders, the Cardinals recalled outfielder Juan Yepez and optioned second baseman Nolan Gorman to Triple-A Memphis, the team announced before the beginning of their three-game series against the Padres on Tuesday.
Yepez, who finally made it to the big leagues this season after spending all or part of eight years in the Minor Leagues, gives the Cardinals another outfield option with Tyler O’Neill (pulled left hamstring) going on the 10-day injured list on Saturday.
Yepez, a Venezuela native, hit 11 home runs in the Majors before going on the IL with a right forearm strain on July 15. After time rehabbing in the Minor Leagues, Yepez was promoted to the Cardinals for one day (Aug. 26) when Nolan Arenado went on the paternity list. In 63 big league games with the Cardinals, Yepez slashed .252/.297/.457 with a .754 OPS with 10 doubles and 27 RBIs.
Gorman, widely considered one of the best power-hitting prospects in the Cardinals' system, forced his way to the big leagues in May by smashing 15 home runs in 34 Triple-A games. With the Cardinals, he hit 14 home runs -- the first one being the longest at 449 feet against the Brewers on May 28.
Gorman had fallen into a major offensive rut of late, causing his playing time to shrink. He had just one hit in his previous 17 at-bats and only one home run in a 24-game stretch before being sent down. The recent slump caused Gorman’s batting average (.226) and OPS (.720) to plummet.
Gorman, 22, and Yepez, 24, are two of the 11 rookies to make their Major League debuts this season with the Cardinals. Among NL rookie ranks in homers, Gorman is tied for fourth, while Yepez is tied for seventh.
Memphis, which starts a six-game homestand against Gwinnett on Tuesday, will hit Gorman in the middle of the lineup and will almost certainly start him at second base to give him the game reps the Cardinals want from him to make sure he continues to grow as a player this season.