Cardinals Activate Wacha, Send Helsley Down

photo: Michael Wacha (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

Michael Wacha (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The St. Louis Cardinals announced prior to tonight’s (Monday, April 29) series opener in Washington, that they have activated right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha (left knee patellar tendinitis) from the 10-day Injured List and optioned right-handed rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley to Memphis (AAA).  Wacha is scheduled to start tonight’s game against the Nationals.

Wacha is 1-0 with a 4.64 ERA in his first four starts this season, including a 6-3 win over the Brewers in his most recent start (April 17).  He was placed on the I.L. on April 19 and was leading the Cardinals pitching staff with his 24 strikeouts in 21.1 innings pitched at that time.

Ryan Helsley (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Helsley, who made his Major League debut on April 16, made three relief appearances for the Cardinals (all of 2.0 innings or more) and posted a 2.84 ERA while fanning seven in 6.1 innings with no walks.  Helsley was 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts for Memphis prior to his recall to the majors.

Brian Walton’s take

The Wacha move was expected, with the Cardinals’ initial prognosis that he would only miss one start to have been proven accurate.

Alex Reyes (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The only suspense was which reliever would be sent down to make roster room for Wacha. Along with Helsley, other possibilities may have been Giovanny Gallegos or Tyler Webb.

The only blemish on Helsley’s debut stint with St. Louis was a solo home run given up in each of his first two outings. The Cardinal Nation’s sixth-ranked prospect may return to starting back with Memphis and continues to have a bright future ahead.

Another option could have been to send down a position player instead, likely infielder Yairo Munoz. That would have kept the bullpen at eight pitchers  and dropped the bench to four. Instead, the Cards open the road trip at seven and five, respectively. Of course, this can change tomorrow if determined to be necessary.

Memphis does not need to make a corresponding roster move, since they were one player down since placing Alex Reyes on the injured list on Sunday. The right-hander suffered a broken pinky finger on his left hand after punching a wall in frustration after his most recent start with the Redbirds. Reyes will pitch from behind a protective screen in extended spring training in Jupiter, Florida for the next three weeks and will be re-evaluated at that time.

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