Roster moves shore up pitching

Roster moves shore up pitching

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals made a pair of roster moves on Saturday, going with 13 pitchers for the time being as they adjust to the reality of having three rookie starting pitchers.

St. Louis officially recalled right-hander Adam Ottavino from Triple-A Memphis, formalizing a move that had been in the offing for two days. Ottavino started Saturday afternoon's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He joins P.J. Walters and Jaime Garcia as inexperienced starters in the rotation with co-aces Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter.

Additionally, the Cardinals purchased the contract of lefty Evan MacLane from Memphis, giving them an eighth relief pitcher to protect a bullpen that manager Tony La Russa fears could be short-staffed in the coming days. MacLane can provide long relief, since he has been starting at Memphis.

"If you look at it half-full, Adam's got talent, and he might give you five or six winning innings," La Russa said before Saturday's game. "In which case ... we probably could put together three innings of bullpen to win the game. But if there's any kind of hiccup, the worst thing that could happen to our club, and I'm not even exaggerating that, in a losing game is to pitch relievers who should not pitch. Because there's a game tomorrow, and there's three more before there's an off-day.

"So we needed somebody that can give us some multiple innings. We asked, and they sent Evan."

To make room for the two additions, the Cardinals optioned right-handed reliever Fernando Salas and outfielder Joe Mather to Memphis.

La Russa said he does not expect the Cardinals to stay with 13 pitchers beyond their upcoming off-day on Thursday. If MacLane pitches multiple innings in one of the games before the off-day, he could be sent out for another reliever, but until and unless that happens, there is a good chance he'll be with the club through its upcoming series at home against Cincinnati.