ST. LOUIS – Apparently the Cardinals saw everything they needed to see from Brian Fuentes during his appearance with Double-A Springfield Tuesday night.
The Cardinals added the veteran lefty to the roster Wednesday morning, optioning right-hander Victor Marte to Triple-A Memphis. Minor league reliever Chuckie Fick was designated for assignment to make room for Fuentes on the 40-man roster.
The 36-year-old Fuentes was released by the Oakland A’s on July 11 after posting a 6.84 ERA in 26 games. He had five saves, including his 200th career save on May 2, and three blown saves. The 12-year big leaguer has 204 career saves and a 3.58 ERA in 644 games.
The left-hander made two scoreless appearances with the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League affiliate in Jupiter before a quick 1-2-3 inning Tuesday night for Springfield. The plan was for Fuentes to appear again Wednesday night at Double-A but he was impressive enough that the Cardinals decided to add him to the active roster instead.
Fuentes had a 2.84 ERA on May 29 but allowed 13 earned runs in six innings over his final seven games with Oakland. Left-handed batters hit .265 against him this year with four extra-base hits in 34 at-bats.
The left-hander played seven seasons with the Colorado Rockies and made three straight All-Star teams from 2005-07. He signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2008 and led the American Leagues with 48 saves in 2009, earning his fourth trip to the Midsummer Classic.
Fuentes had at least 20 saves in six-straight seasons from 2005-10. But he’s struggled since joining Oakland in 2011, going 2-8 with a 3.70 ERA last season before his recent struggles caused him to be released this week.
The Cardinals now have three left-handed relievers in the bullpen with Fuentes, Marc Rzepczynski and Barret Browning.