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Gregerson close to joining Cards' bullpen

Wainwright, Molina set to work 248th game as batterymates
April 29, 2019

WASHINGTON -- The Cardinals could soon make another roster move, adding reliever Luke Gregerson after optioning righty Ryan Helsley to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Monday’s starter Michael Wacha, who returned from the 10-day injured list with left knee tendinitis for the game won by the Cardinals, 6-3. Gregerson,

WASHINGTON -- The Cardinals could soon make another roster move, adding reliever Luke Gregerson after optioning righty Ryan Helsley to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Monday’s starter Michael Wacha, who returned from the 10-day injured list with left knee tendinitis for the game won by the Cardinals, 6-3.

Gregerson, who began the season on the 10-day injured list (right shoulder impingement), will arrive in Washington on Monday evening after beginning the season on a rehab assignment. The 30th day of his assignment, the maximum allowed for a pitcher, would come Friday.

“Luke will come in later tonight and we’ll sit down with Luke later tomorrow and we’ll go over what our thoughts are,” said manager Mike Shildt. “Obviously he’ll be here, so that’s pretty indicative.”

Gregerson signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Cardinals in December 2017, but had a rough first season for St. Louis while dealing with his ailing shoulder. Over 17 appearances in 2018 -- with one 10-day IL assignment thrown in the middle -- he pitched to a 7.11 ERA in 12 2/3 innings.

But Gregerson has only allowed two runs in 10 innings of rehab work across three Minor League levels, and boasts a strong big league relief track record of a career 3.10 ERA over 640 appearances. He also has closing experience, registering 66 saves.

Meanwhile, Shildt said the decision to option Helsley wasn’t a reflection on his performance in his first three career big league appearances. The 24-year-old allowed two runs over 6 1/3 innings, having retired at least six batters in each.

“That was a tough decision,” Shildt said. “I shared with him, ‘You’re a big league player, you just happen to be in Triple-A working on your craft.’ He did really well.”

The Cardinals now have a seven-man bullpen ahead of the fourth contest in a stretch of 17 games in 17 days.

Just like Glavine and Lopez

When Adam Wainwright makes his start Tuesday, he and catcher Yadier Molina will likely share their 248th game as batterymates, all for the Cardinals. That will tie them for 10th place on the all-time MLB list with the Braves’ Tom Glavine and Javy Lopez, whom Wainwright rooted for as a child growing up in Georgia.

“To have somewhat even the longevity of those guys, it’s crazy,” Wainwright said. “But also what a cool thing to be able to say that I’ve paired up with the same catcher that many times.”

As for the 37-year-old’s favorite memories of Glavine and Lopez working together?

“Glavine had this amazing ability to pitch a corner,” Wainwright said. “And then if the umpire called it, he would go and take it about two more inches off of that. And Javy knew to do that.

“I remember when Javy was first coming up, my brother was so excited about his hitting prowess. But what those two did, learning the umpire each time, was my favorite thing to watch of those two.”