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Siegrist sent down to seek regained confidence

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ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Siegrist insisted after Saturday's implosion that he was feeling healthy but otherwise had few answers for his recent struggles. He'll now get time to reflect and rework in Triple-A.

Sensing that Siegrist needed a change of scenery in order to work his way out of a funk, the Cardinals optioned the left-hander to Memphis on Saturday. The move came immediately after he served up a grand slam to lose a lead against the Padres in the third game of a four-game series.

"We want him feeling good again about his stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully he'll find a good rhythm. I think he's always going to have to continue to work on that breaking ball that will help him be successful against left-handed hitters. And we've seen a drop in velocity from when he feels physically strong. There's something that is just a click off. We've talked about this before, trying to get somebody right here isn't always the right answer."

Excluding a recent rehab assignment, Siegrist hasn't been in the Minors since June 2013. Upon being called up last season, he dominated opponents -- allowing 17 hits and two runs in 39 2/3 innings -- and opened this season as one of the Cardinals' setup men.

It's been a rocky road since, especially after he returned from a two-month stint on the disabled list three weeks ago. In nine outings since coming back, Siegrist allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in eight innings. Opponents have hit .351 against him. Command has been off, and velocity has been down. It's been a volatile mix.

"I think all season it's been a little different than what we saw last year," Matheny said. "We gave him a long rest trying to get past that. I don't think you ever discount everything. When a guy does have an injury and gets back healthy, there are usually some modifications that they were making along the way to survive at the time. That could be part of the equation. But right now, it just seems like something is off mechanically. And then that affects the confidence."

Siegrist will have to remain in the Minors for a minimum of 10 days (unless the Cardinals place someone on the disabled list), meaning that he'll be ready to return when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

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.

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