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Marte optioned to Triple-A; Cleto called up

Marte optioned to Triple-A; Cleto called up

Marte optioned to Triple-A; Cleto called up

ST. LOUIS -- After burning through five relievers in extra innings Tuesday night, the Cardinals called up right-hander Maikel Cleto from Triple-A Memphis to bolster the bullpen.

Victor Marte was optioned back down to Memphis after taking the loss in the 14th inning against the D-backs on Tuesday. Marte gave up the game-winning run and needed 31 pitches to get three outs in his one-inning appearance. Seth Maness pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief and Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica and Keith Butler went two apiece.

With Joe Kelly making a spot start Wednesday, the Cardinals bullpen is already shorthanded and Cleto, who hasn't pitched since May 29, will provide a fresh arm.

"We worked everybody pretty hard so there's a few guys that can go ahead, but we're going to be leaning on [starter] Joe [Kelly] to give us a good outing," manager Mike Matheny said. "And we're going to be leaning on Maikel Cleto to help us out if we need it."

The 6-3, 250-pound Cleto has been a starter for Memphis since May 2, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.97 ERA in six starts. He has a 5.67 ERA through 39 2/3 innings with the Redbirds this season.

Cleto, who will wear No. 63, made a dozen combined Major League appearances with the Cardinals in 2011 and '12.

Matheny could go to his relievers earlier than usual, as Kelly has pitched more than one inning just five times this season, with his longest outing coming on May 25 against the Dodgers. He threw 62 pitches over three innings in Los Angeles.

"I don't think we're really going to give a number, as much as just watching and see what it looks like," Matheny said of Kelly's pitch count. "We watched him throw quite a few pitches in the long outing we needed him and he's pretty adaptable, so we'll just keep a close eye on him and realize we do have some help. It's not like we have to have him just to sit there and soak up innings no matter what."

Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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