Next man up: Cards place reliever Belisle on DL, call up RHP Hatley

The St. Louis Cardinals placed right-hander Matt Belisle on the 15-day disabled list with elbow inflammation. 

ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals placed another pitcher on the disabled list after nearly a week of treatments couldn’t reduce elbow inflammation.

Reliever Matt Belisle said he didn’t feel any discomfort until he got on the plane in Miami after throwing a perfect inning to help St. Louis to a 5-1 win. The next day playing catch aggravated it a bit more, and Belisle still experienced pain when he threw again early Tuesday.

"It feels a lot like when your foot cramps in a swimming pool," Belisle says. "I was locked up, but everything we’ve done as far as stimulus for the therapy has responded extremely well and those are all tremendously good signs, so extremely frustrating, but it’ll get right."

He said additional ultrasounds should give doctors a deeper look and allow them to pinpoint the problems, since an MRI showed no structural damage. Belisle says he’s not too worried, and he’s confident his body will recover quickly.

In the meantime, the Cardinals will have to survive without his 3.00 ERA over 30 appearances. Matheny said the right-hander fought hard and tried everything to avoid going to the 15-day disabled list, but in the end all parties agreed the move needed to be made.

"I go check on these guys, and every single day he gives me the same answer," Matheny said. "It doesn’t matter how many days he’s thrown in a row, he’s always ready to go. There’s days we just have to shut him down and he doesn’t have any say in it."

It’s the second trip to the disabled list for a pitcher from the St. Louis bullpen, which leads the league with a 2.01 ERA. Jordan Walden likely won’t return until after the All-Star break from a biceps injury that sidelined him two months ago, and starter Lance Lynn also spent the minimum amount of time on the DL.  Adam Wainwright suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in April.

Right-hander Marcus Hatley joined St. Louis on Tuesday afternoon from Triple A Memphis, where he posted a 1.69 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. The 27-year-old will be looking to make his major league debut after eight years in the minors.

"He was a guy who impressed us in spring training and found an opportunity to keep showing us through the spring," Matheny said. "This year he’s been doing a nice job pitching late innings in Memphis. He seems to be a guy who can eat up some innings but get critical outs for us when we need him."

Matheny goes for right-handed bats vs. Sale

The Cardinals will send a heavy diet of right-handed bats to the plate to try to upset the recent dominance of White Sox ace Chris Sale.

Success has been rare against the 21-year-old left-hander, who has at least 10 strikeouts in each of his last seven starts. Despite giving up five earned runs in a loss to Minnesota last Wednesday, he’s 6-4 with a 3.02 ERA for the season, and he’s held lefties to a .188 average.

"It’ll definitely be my biggest test," says Cardinals first baseman Xavier Scruggs. "I’m excited about it and ready to get it going."

Regular infielders Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong will take the day off, replaced by Mark Reynolds and Pete Kozma, respectively. Outfielder Jon Jay will also be on the bench as Peter Bourjos gets the start in center field, with Randal Grichuk set to man left.

Somewhat surprisingly considering his solid career numbers, Carpenter has hit just .222 with six walks vs. lefties this season in 89 plate appearances. Matheny says it’s nothing to worry about given the small sample size, but he said facing a tough lefty offers an ideal chance for Carpenter and others to rest for a second straight day.

"Even when we look against teams that we’re studying, we see what they’re doing this year, but over the long haul of their career you can tell the guys that can either hit lefties (or don’t) and their splits may be deceiving this year," Matheny says. "Overall, I think Matt’s just trying to get his stroke right. Having a day like today could help him get there."

Garcia’s status, Thursday starter unknown

Matheny offered little clarity on the status of left-handed starter Jaime Garcia, who hasn’t pitched since leaving in the seventh inning with a left groin cramp last Wednesday at Miami.

He missed Tuesday’s scheduled start and the Cardinals moved up both Lynn and veteran John Lackey, but Matheny said earlier this week he’s more hesitant to move up his two young pitchers, Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez. Matheny said Garcia felt much better Tuesday, even though he couldn’t throw his scheduled bullpen session.

"Tomorrow we’ll have Lackey going and after that we’ll keep you updated," Matheny said. "We will wait and see."

St. Louis could also call up a pitcher from Memphis, where left-hander Tim Cooney left Sunday’s start after two perfect innings.

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