ST. LOUIS -- With clubs now permitted to carry as many players from their 40-man rosters as desired, the Cardinals fortified their bullpen and bench with the addition of five players on Tuesday.
Left-handers Tyler Lyons, Nick Greenwood and Marco Gonzales were all recalled from Double-A Springfield, even though none had actually reported to that affiliate for the final two games of Springfield's season. The Cardinals had made what amounted to no more than a paper move on Sunday by optioning the three pitchers to give them the roster space to then add fresh reinforcements for two days.
Catcher Tony Cruz, sent to Springfield when Yadier Molina rejoined the club on Friday, also returned to St. Louis on Tuesday, as did Jason Motte. Motte wrapped up a month-long stint on the disabled list by throwing a pain-free, 12-pitch inning for the Double-A club on Sunday.
Manager Mike Matheny confirmed that Motte would be available out of the 'pen immediately. Greenwood and Lyons should be sufficiently rested to also contribute as soon needed. The Cardinals will hold Gonzales back so that he can relieve Michael Wacha on Thursday. Wacha will be limited to 50-60 pitches, requiring the Cardinals to have a long reliever ready behind him.
While Cruz sits as the third catcher on the Cardinals' depth chart, his return will give Matheny more flexibility in using A.J. Pierzynski as a pinch-hitter instead of saving him on the bench in case the club needed him to relieve Molina behind the plate.
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.