ST. LOUIS -- After twice being summoned to the Majors to provide a boost in the bullpen, prized pitching prospect Carlos Martinez is on his way to St. Louis for a start.
En route to start Triple-A Memphis' series opener in Reno on Thursday, Martinez turned around to make his first big league start against the Dodgers at Busch Stadium. An opening in the Cardinals rotation surfaced as soon as manager Mike Matheny chose to turn to Thursday's scheduled starter, Jake Westbrook, upon Shelby Miller's first-inning exit on Wednesday, when he was struck by a line drive and sustained a bruised right elbow.
That made Martinez the natural choice to fill in, as he will be pitching on normal rest.
Also joining the Cardinals on Thursday will be left-hander Sam Freeman Right-hander Keith Butler, who threw 45 pitches in relief on Wednesday, and first baseman/outfielder Brock Peterson were optioned to Triple-A to open up the necessary roster space. Sending down Peterson indicates that the Cardinals are hopeful that Miller will be able to avoid the disabled list.
The 21-year-old Martinez, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' third-best prospect, has posted a 1.76 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts this season. He has held batters to a .214 batting average and has struck out 45 in 51 innings. In the two starts he has made since his last trip down from St. Louis, Martinez allowed five hits and one earned run in 10 innings.
Martinez allowed 12 hits and seven earned runs in 11 1/3 innings in his previous stints with the Cardinals.
Freeman has a 2.95 ERA in 44 games with Memphis this season. He has struck out 61 batters in 64 innings and has held opponents to a .225 batting average. He made 20 scoreless appearances from May 28 to July 26. The addition of Freeman gives the Cardinals three lefties in their bullpen.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.