MLB

Cardinals option reliever Salas to Triple-A

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ST. LOUIS (AP)

The St. Louis Cardinals optioned struggling reliever Fernando Salas, their closer much of last season, to Triple-A Memphis. Manager Mike Matheny anticipates Salas won't be in the minors too long.

''We need him, and we need to get him right,'' Matheny said Saturday. ''The best opportunity for him to do that is to get some consistent work in a different atmosphere.''

The 26-year-old Salas, a right-hander, had a team-leading 24 saves and a 2.28 ERA last year and counting the postseason and a brief stint in the minors totaled 81 appearances. This year he's 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA in 18 appearances, taking the loss his last two outings.

Salas could get some work as the closer in the minors.

''I don't think you can overlook the workload he had last year,'' Matheny said. ''I don't deny the fact that what he went through last year has an impact on what's going on right now, but I still think he's very close to getting there.''

The Cardinals recalled Chuckie Fick from Triple-A Memphis to take Salas' spot.

The 6-foot-5, 195-pound Fick is also 26 and also a right-hander, and made his major league debut Saturday against the Phillies. He's the son of longtime Cardinals scout Chuck Fick and nephew of former major leaguer Robert Fick.

Fick was a 15th round draft pick in 2007 out of Cal State-Northridge, and was 10 with a 3.86 ERA and two saves in a team-leading 21 appearances covering 21 innings in Memphis. His 2.30 ERA last year with Memphis was the fourth-best among Triple-A relievers with 50 or more appearances.

Fick's best pitch is a sinker.

''Well, we just need to watch him first,'' Matheny said. ''He can eat some innings, and hasn't been overworked in Memphis, so a pretty good live arm to bring in.''

Tagged: Cardinals, Fernando Salas

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