On Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have purchased the contract of left-handed relief pitcher Brian Fuentes from Double-A Springfield.
To make room for Fuentes’ addition to the club’s 40-man Major League roster, the Cardinals designated pitcher Chuckie Fick for assignment and to accommodate him on the 25-man active roster, the Cardinals optioned pitcher Victor Marte to Triple-A Memphis.
Fuentes, 36, worked a scoreless seventh inning Tuesday night for Springfield, striking out two. Over the weekend, he appeared in two games during an injury rehabilitation assignment with the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League club following his signing to a minor league deal on July 15.
Fuentes is a four-time all-star and is the Colorado Rockies all-time saves leader with 115. He is one of just six left-handed pitchers in Major league history to have recorded 200 or more saves, joining John Franco (494), Billy Wagner (422), Randy Myers (347), Dave Righetti (252) and Sparky Lyle (222). His 204 career saves lead all active lefties.
In 2009, Fuentes led the majors with 48 saves for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, earning selection to the American League All-Star team. The 6-4, 230-pound California native was a National League All-Star for three-straight seasons for Colorado from 2005-07 and he was a member of the Rockies National League Championship team in 2007.
Fuentes was 2-2, 6.84 ERA with 5 saves in 26 games (25.0 IP) for Oakland this season before receiving his release on July 11. His career mark stands at 26-43, 3.58 ERA and 204 saves in 644 games (608.1 IP).
Fuentes is expected to join the Cardinals for their game Wednesday night vs. the Dodgers. He has been assigned uniform #40. Fuentes becomes the team’s third left-handed reliever, along with Marc Rzepczynski and Barret Browning.
Marte, 31, joined St. Louis on April 6 when his contract was purchased from Memphis. He replaced Scott Linebrink, who had been placed on the disabled list. The right-hander, who had a PCL-leading 31 saves with Memphis last year, struggled recently. He allowed two inherited runners to score in his final outing Monday night and has a loss and a blown save in his last five appearances. Marte has a 4.46 ERA in 43 appearances with St. Louis.
Fick, 26, was added to the 40-man roster last November and had a five-day major league stay, from May 26-31. The right-hander was called upon twice for his first action as a major leaguer. Fick allowed one run over 1 2/3 innings for a 5.40 ERA with St. Louis. With Memphis this season, he has posted a 4.68 ERA in 42 games and has been struggling recently, having been scored upon in each of his last four Pacific Coast League outings.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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