CINCINNATI -- The Cardinals began a road trip that could feature some significant roster churn by placing right-hander Sam Tuivailala on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee strain, raising the club's number of inactive bullpen arms to four.Right-hander Mike Mayers, who made the club out of Spring Training
CINCINNATI -- The Cardinals began a road trip that could feature some significant roster churn by placing right-hander Sam Tuivailala on the 10-day disabled list with a left knee strain, raising the club's number of inactive bullpen arms to four.
Right-hander Mike Mayers, who made the club out of Spring Training but was recently optioned, was recalled from Triple-A Memphis in a corresponding move. Mayers recorded a three-inning save in the Cardinals' 13-4 win over the Reds on Thursday.
Tuivailala joins fellow relievers Ryan Sherriff (fractured toe), Luke Gregerson (strained left hamstring) and Brett Cecil (left shoulder strain) on the club's injury report after tweaking his knee during pregame stretches prior to Monday's 5-4 loss to Milwaukee. Tuivailala then threw two scoreless innings that night, during which his velocity decreased notably.
He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday, when the Cardinals announced the transaction prior to their series opener against the Reds.
"Hate to see that happen for him, but we have to have some guys who can cover for us," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We were trying to figure out what the next move was."
That move was recalling Mayers, who appeared in two of the Cardinals' first nine games before he was optioned to clear space for Greg Holland on Monday. And more moves are coming. Gregerson and infielder Jedd Gyorko are both nearing returns from rehab assignments and could rejoin the club by the end of the trip.
Sherriff, who replaced Cecil, isn't expected to miss much time either, though he could return to Triple-A. Mayers did not appear in any games for Memphis during his brief demotion and was eligible to return to the Majors so quickly because he replaced an injured player.
Typically, optioned players are required to spend at least 10 days in the Minors before returning to the Majors.
Mayers' remaining options are why the club plans to utilize him this year much like it used Tuivailala last season, yo-yoing him between the Majors and Minors if necessary. Tuivailala is now out of options, meaning he can't be sent to the Minors without first passing through waivers.
Tuivailala's velocity was down notably even before his injury, a drop the righty attributed to a slide step he's been experimenting with in the early going. But his pitches also slowed over the course of his last outing, with his four-seamer dropping from 95.4 mph to 92.6 mph over the course of a handful of batters.
"Everybody seems to make a whole lot [more] out of the velocity numbers than I do," Matheny said. "I understand where you're going with this. Is this an indicator of injury? Everything the trainers were telling us is that he's strong, he felt good. I think sometimes we panic with velocity, make such a big deal about it sometimes."
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.