Eckstein, Cavazos In; Ryan, Wellemeyer Out

Four players are involved in roster moves as the St. Louis Cardinals prepare for post-All-Star break action.

Eckstein back, Ryan optioned out

As expected, St. Louis Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein will be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday and is expected to be in the Cards' lineup as they take on the Philadelphia Phillies in the first of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Eckstein last played on June 13 and due to back spasms, went onto the DL the next day. He is batting .313 with 25 runs scored in 52 games. Struggling earlier in the season, the 2006 World Series MVP had been briefly dropped to the bottom of the Cards order before going on a hot streak, only to be interrupted by the back problem.

Eckstein was eligible to come off the DL on June 29, but needed two more weeks to get completely ready, a period that included three anti-inflammatory injections in his sore back.

Infielder Brendan Ryan is again being optioned to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Eckstein on the Cardinals' 25-man active roster. In his second taste of MLB action this season, Ryan demonstrated good play on defense and swatted a home run to provide the winning edge in a big extra-innings victory in New York on June 27. Overall, Ryan is hitting .268 with two home runs, five RBIs and eight runs scored in 68 big league at-bats.

While the above move was expected, the next transaction was not.

Wellemeyer to disabled list, Cavazos back up

Right-handed pitcher Todd Wellemeyer has to be wondering how something so good can turn into something so bad. The man claimed via waivers in mid-May from Kansas City tossed a two-hitter for five shutout innings against San Francisco on Sunday. That helped the Cards avoid being swept at home by the last-place Giants and head into the break with a much-needed win.

However, that wasn't good enough to save Wellemeyer's spot in the rotation. Despite the Sunday performance, manager Tony La Russa aimed Wellemeyer back to the bullpen from where he came. The counter move was the restoration of inconsistent Kip Wells to the rotation, while he will open the post-All-Star segment of the season on Friday night.

To make matters even worse, apparently Wellemeyer sprained his pitching elbow in his last outing, landing him on the 15-day disabled list. Overall this season for the Cardinals, the 28-year old has posted a 4.19 ERA in 43 innings pitched over 21 games, including eight starts.

Andy Cavazos returns to the majors to assume Wellemeyer's spot. In his previous and only stint with the Cardinals, Cavazos appeared in seven games last month. He allowed seven earned runs in 11 innings for a 5.83 ERA. The 26-year old struck out nine, but walked seven opposing batters. For Memphis this season, Cavazos registered a 3.69 ERA, striking out 31 in 31 2/3 innings while walking 17.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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