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Wacha shifts to bullpen; Blazek optioned

Wacha shifts to bullpen; Blazek optioned

Wacha shifts to bullpen; Blazek optioned

ST. LOUIS -- With Michael Wacha transitioning into a relief role and the Cardinals wanting to add a 13th position player to the roster, the organization optioned right-hander Michael Blazek back to Memphis on Tuesday.

During his pregame meeting with the media, manager Mike Matheny was unsure of Wacha's availability for Tuesday. That's because the rookie right-hander threw 99 pitches during a start on Saturday. At the latest, Wacha, who will be pitching as a reliever for the first time this season, will be available on Wednesday.

Though Wacha can give the Cardinals length out of the 'pen, pitching in long releif will not be his defined role. The club is interested in utilizing him in more high-leverage, late-inning spots, perhaps taking some of that onus off rookies Seth Maness and Trevor Rosenthal.

"I just think he's throwing the ball as good as anybody we've got," Matheny said. "We want to go with our best right now. He's been throwing it well, and in his start he did a nice job, too. He gives us a little flexibility. ... He could be used in a number of different ways."

Blazek heads back to Memphis after allowing five earned runs on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings during his latest stint in the Majors. With Wacha taking Blazek's place in the bullpen, the Cardinals again have a relief corps of seven.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. 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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