On Thursday, the St. Louis Cardinals formally announced the recall of right-handed pitcher Carlos Martinez along with left-handed relief pitcher Sam Freeman from Triple-A Memphis.
Martinez is slated to make his first Major League start Thursday night in the team’s series finale against Los Angeles. The 21-year-old is filling in for Jake Westbrook, who was pressed into emergency duty when Shelby Miller was injured in Wednesday’s first inning.
In the corresponding transactions, the Cardinals optioned right-handed pitcher Keith Butler and first baseman/outfielder Brock Peterson to Memphis.
Martinez is joining the big league club for the third time this season. With St. Louis, he has had no decisions in 10 games, all in relief, while striking out 11 in 11 1/3 innings pitched. As a member of the Memphis starting rotation, Martinez was 4-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 10 starts. He has struck out 45 batters in 51 innings pitched while holding the opposition to a .214 batting mark and just one home run.
Martinez, the Cardinals organization and The Cardinal Nation’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June, will become the fifth Cardinals rookie pitcher to make a start this season. He follows Shelby Miller, Tyler Lyons, Michael Wacha and John Gast.
Freeman, 26, becomes the third left-hander in the bullpen and should provide a fresh arm to augment the busy relief corps in St. Louis.
With Memphis, Freeman has a 7-2 record with a 2.95 ERA and two saves in 44 games pitched at Memphis. The former Kansas hurler fanned 61 batters in 64 innings while limiting the opposition to a .225 batting average.
The 26-year-old has yet to pitch in St. Louis this season. Freeman made 24 relief appearances as a rookie for the Cardinals last season, going 0-2, 5.40 ERA in 20.0 innings pitched. He was on the team’s active roster for the National League Wild Card game last season, but did not appear.
Butler, 24, allowed four runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on Wednesday night. Overall in two stints with St. Louis, the rookie right-hander has a 4.05 ERA in 20 innings over 16 appearances. He fanned 16 but walked 11.
Peterson, 29, also completed his second stretch as a major leaguer, having last been called up on July 31. The right-handed hitter has just two singles and a walk in 14 MLB plate appearances for a line of .154/.214/.154. Peterson added two RBI.
Martinez and Freeman were already on the organization's 40-man roster, so no changes were needed there. However, these moves drop the number of St. Louis' position player reserves from five to four.
To see the Cardinals entire 40-man roster and all of the minor leaguers in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation blog.
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Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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