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St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Matt Bowman (67) flips the ball to first base to get New York Yankees Brett Gardner during the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 16, 2017 at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees defeated the Cardinals 9-3. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

WASHINGTON • As the Cardinals ready for the second half of the regular season, they're already making moves like the first half.

Let the pitcher carousel commence, er, continue.

The Cardinals will open their five-game series at Wrigley Field without All-Star righthander Miles Mikolas, who was placed on paternity leave Wednesday. The Cardinals recalled reliever Matt Bowman from Class AAA Memphis, and he will travel with the team to Chicago on Thursday morning. By rule, paternity leave must be longer than one day and no longer than three days.

If Mikolas takes the entire paternity leave, the earliest he'd be available to pitch would be Saturday, when the Cubs and Cardinals play a doubleheader. Mikolas and his wife, Lauren, are expecting twins, they've shared on social media.

The Cardinals rotation for the Cubs series is as follows:

  • Thursday: Carlos Martinez
  • Friday: Jack Flaherty
  • Saturday: Luke Weaver and John Gant
  • Sunday: Miles Mikolas

The Cardinals will need a sixth starter for Monday in Cincinnati.

Weaver, who just started for Class AAA Memphis, has been named as a starter for one of the doubleheader games in the series. The Cardinals were planning on having him return as the 26th man allowed for Saturday's doubleheader, and at that point he can also remain with the team if another player is optioned out.

Mikolas flew to Washington on Sunday night and then had to skedaddle back home to Jupiter, Fla., the next day to be with Lauren. A Major League Baseball official said that Lauren went into labor and Mikolas would not be participating or present for any of the All-Star festivities.

Mikolas had already been replaced on the NL's active roster.

Bowman returned to the Triple-A bullpen after recovering from blisters and blood flow issues in his fingers. In nine games for the Redbirds, Bowman has thrown 10 2/3 innings, struck out 15, walked two, and posted a 3.38 ERA. He had been a fixture in the Cardinals' bullpen as a fireman for two seasons before the finger issues loosened his grip on the role.

In 19 starts this season, his first with the Cardinals, Mikolas has been one of the most reliable pitchers in the National League. He has a 10-3 record with a 2.79 ERA and he averages more than six innings a game.


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Derrick Goold is the lead Cardinals beat writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and past president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.