ST. LOUIS — Top pitching prospect Carlos Martinez’s second trip to the majors lasted just two weeks after the Cardinals sent him back to Class AAA Memphis and called up lefty reliever Marc Rzepczynski on Thursday.
Martinez, who spent three weeks in the majors in May, made only three appearances this time up. He pitched well in two but, when called on to work the ninth with a 9-3 lead against the Padres in the other, was roughed up for three runs in one-third of an inning. The bad outing had little to do with him returning to the minors, manager Mike Matheny said.
“It worked out to the point where Carlos wasn’t getting the amount of innings he needed,” Matheny said before Thursday night’s game against the Phillies. “We needed to make sure he’s getting built up, able to improve. He’s still a very young pitcher. It was nice to get him in last night to have a good feeling before he went off.”
Rzepczynski earned a trip back to St. Louis in part because the Cardinals will be facing some heavy-hitting, left-handed hitters on an upcoming 11-game, 10-day trip to Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
Sent down April 29 with a 7.88 ERA, Rzepczynski found his form in the minors. He recorded a 3.07 ERA in 44 innings covering 32 outings while striking out 31 and holding lefty hitters to a .185 average. He figures to be asked to face more than lefties this time.
“With two other left-handers (in the bullpen), he’s going to have to face lefties and righties,” Matheny said. “But depending on how each of them are throwing, there may be times he’s throwing the ball real well and he’ll face more lefties.”
“I am just happy to be here right now,” Rzepczynski said. “Whatever they ask me to do, I’m more than willing to do. If they want me to go two innings, I’m definitely in shape for it.”
In a five-minute conversation with reporters, Rzepczynski said he was happy to be back no fewer than four times. With the trade deadline six days away, however, the 27-year-old knows there’s a possibility he might not be here long.
“Once you’ve been traded once, you’re always curious whether or not it’s going to happen,” he said. “There’s no other team I’d rather be on than here with the group of guys that I’ve become friends with, plus the team is winning. I’m happy to be back and hopefully, get to stick around the rest of the year.”
You can follow Stan McNeal on Twitter at @stanmcneal or email him at email@example.com.