Blazek joins bullpen as Cards add more depth

Blazek joins bullpen as Cards add more depth

LOS ANGELES -- After a 4:30 a.m. CT wakeup call in Springfield, Mo., right-hander Michael Blazek arrived at Dodger Stadium around 11 a.m. PT on Sunday, eager to take his spot in the Cardinals' bullpen.

Blazek becomes the latest youngster to earn a spot on the Cardinals' roster. Since April 29, the Cardinals have given five pitchers -- Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez, John Gast, Tyler Lyons and now Blazek -- their first big league call-up. When Blazek makes his debut, he will become the ninth pitcher aged 25 or younger to pitch for the Cardinals this season.

The Cardinals cleared a spot on the 25-man roster for Blazek by moving left-hander John Gast to the disabled list. Blazek, who will wear No. 67, was already on the 40-man roster, so no additional move had to be made.

"You don't really know what to expect really," Blazek said. "It's still kind of surreal. I'm just trying to keep it the same as much as possible."

Ranked No. 9 among Cardinals prospects, Blazek had been a standout in the Springfield bullpen this season. In 17 appearances (19 2/3 innings), Blazek allowed two earned runs on 11 hits and 10 walks. He struck out 25.

Blazek last pitched on Thursday, meaning that he'll be an available arm for manager Mike Matheny immediately. The Cardinals needed another reliever after asking their bullpen to log seven innings on Saturday. The club chose to add Blazek over other pitchers on the 40-man roster because of how well he was throwing in Double-A.

"We're going with our best guy," Matheny said. "He's been throwing the ball best. We leave a lot up to our development people to take a look at who is throwing the ball well now, and Michael has been throwing the ball well. He has real good stuff and is young and working, but we had some nice reports from Double-A."

Blazek, 24, has been in the Cardinals' organization since being taken in the 35th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He was used primarily as a starter until transitioning into a bullpen role last season.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.