photo: Juan Yepez (Memphis Redbirds)
Entering Wednesday’s National League Wild Card Game in Los Angeles, the St. Louis Cardinals were required to submit a roster of 26 active players for the contest. With the team having ended the season with 28, changes would be required.
With Adam Wainwright scheduled to start against the Dodgers and at least four pitchers with significant starting experience available out of the bullpen (Dakota Hudson, Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty and Kwang-Hyun Kim), the Cardinals excluded starters J.A. Happ, Jon Lester and Jake Woodford from Wednesday eligibility. If the Cardinals advance, the former two, if not all three, would likely join the NL Division Series roster.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) October 6, 2021
The club also added a hitter to the 40-man and 26-man active rosters for the first time, corner infielder/outfielder Juan Yepez. The 23-year-old brings a potent bat, likely off the bench as a right-handed pinch-hitter.
Rather than repeat the 2021 highlights of the Cardinals’ system’s breakout player here, check out Tuesday’s story:
Having just been named to the Triple-A East Division All-Star Team on Tuesday has to pale in comparison to potentially making team history on Wednesday.
If @Little_Juan07 were to appear in tonight's Wild Card game, he would become the 6th player in MLB history to make his Major League debut in the postseason and first Cardinals player in franchise history to do so. pic.twitter.com/n1WK1pegUV
— Cardinals Player Development (@CardsPlayerDev) October 6, 2021
The Cardinals only moved the schedule ahead a few weeks by adding Yepez to the 40-man roster now. The 2021 breakout hitter would have to be placed their by November anyway to avoid being eligible for December’s Rule 5 Draft. Surely the organization wants to keep him.
Elledge, 25, was acquired while a Double-A player from Seattle for Sam Tuivailala in July 2018. The Dallas, Texas native made his St. Louis and MLB debuts on August 16, 2020, a day after having been added to the 40-man roster.
This season, the right-hander was called up to St. Louis from Memphis three times and returned to Triple-A each time. In total, Elledge pitched 11 1/3 innings over 11 games with the Cardinals, logging a 4.63 ERA. He fanned 11 but walked seven and opposing hitters batted .302 against him.
As he has been designated for assignment, in the next seven days, Elledge could be claimed by another organization off outright waivers, traded, released or perhaps more likely, outrighted to Triple-A to remain in the organization.
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