Lucas Replaces Mayers in Cardinals Bullpen

photo: Josh Lucas (USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

Josh Lucas (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have purchased the contract of right-handed pitcher Josh Lucas from triple-A Memphis and optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Mayers (pronounced MY-ers) to Memphis following Friday night’s game.

Lucas, 26, the Cardinals 21st round draft pick out of Lakeland (Fla.) High School in the 2010 draft, will be making his Major League debut when he appears in his first game with St. Louis.

The 6-5, 205-pound reliever has posted an 8-1 record with a 3.34 ERA over 43 appearances, converting 14-of-17 saves.  He ranks T-4th in the Pacific Coast League in saves (14), T-6th in wins (8) and T-11th in appearances (43), while striking out 65 batters in 56.1 innings.

The Redbirds’ most recent closer, Lucas has had 16 appearances of four outs or more with 11 of 2.0 innings.  He’s stranded 13-of-15 inherited runners, induced five double plays and has only issued nine walks.  He received an invitation to Major League Spring Training in 2017 and allowed just two hits to 17 total batters faced in five appearances.

Mike Mayers/USA TODAY Sports Images

Mayers, 26, was recalled on Friday before his option to Memphis following the game.

Lucas will wear uniform No. 77.

Brian Walton’s take

Even though free agent addition Mark Montgomery has drawn a lot of attention coming out of Memphis’ pen this summer, Lucas has been almost anonymous to fans despite also performing very well as the closer for the Pacific Coast League leaders. Though neither reliever was on the 40-man roster, I am not surprised the home-grown prospect is the one added.

Lucas, who was a non-roster invitee to big-league camp this spring, has long been an organizational favorite. Subscribers to The Cardinal Nation are already aware that I included the 6-foot-5 (or 6-foot-6, depending on the source) right-hander among my projected Arizona Fall League participants for 2017.

The only other pitchers on the 40-man roster not yet tried recently in St. Louis are John Gant and Sean Gilmartin, with the latter just off the DL at Memphis, and Double-A reliever Rowan Wick.

Lucas takes the last open spot on the 40-man roster, but a couple of openings could be created soon depending on the seriousness of the right elbow injuries suffered by Trevor Rosenthal and Adam Wainwright.

As many know, Mayers laid an egg during Friday night’s game at Pittsburgh, allowing five runs, four earned, in just 2/3 of an inning. That led to his quick return to Memphis.

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