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To make room for Holland, Cardinals delay Alex Reyes' return

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Cardinals-Revamped Rotation Baseball

Cardinals rookie Alex Reyes delivers a pitch on Sept. 29, 2016. Reyes underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2016 season. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

NEW YORK • In an obvious sign of how quickly a deal came together for All-Star closer Greg Holland, the Cardinals, just days after declaring they didn't want to delay rookie Alex Reyes' return to the majors, placed him on the 60-day disabled list.

That makes him ineligible to return to the majors until May 28.

One game into the season, the Cardinals made a flurry of roster moves -- some obvious, some surprising. The Cardinals announced the finalization of a one-year, $14-million deal with Holland, though the team did not disclose the financial terms. As previously reported on STLtoday.com, Holland is headed to Florida to get in some game-time against hitters. He'll start with High-A Palm Beach, as that's where the Cardinals optioned him Saturday morning.

That move requires Holland to stay in the minors for at least 10 days. He'll report to Palm Beach on Monday. The Cardinals want to see Holland throw a live batting practice session that day and another during the week so that he'll be ready when the minor-league season opens. The expectation is that he'll pitch for the PB-Cards at least once before coming to the majors.

The Cardinals also recalled lefty Ryan Sherriff from Class AAA to take Brett Cecil's place in the bullpen. The lefty goes on the disabled list after appearing in the opener and seeing a dip in his velocity. He did not express any concern during the workout day Friday.

Cecil has been dealing with a dead-arm feel since the end of spring training, and that showed up Thursday when he had a slip in mph. A trainer also alerted manager Mike Matheny that the lefty had some pain develop within his shoulder.

The Cardinals sent Cecil for an MRI to determine if there was any damage in the shoulder. He has also been sent for a second opinion.

General manager Michael Girsch said there was nothing alarming found in the first scan.

To complete the signing with Holland, the Cardinals did have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Rather than having to designate a third player for assignment this week -- two were done earlier in the week to clear spots for Jordan Hicks and Francisco Pena -- the Cardinals went with the easier move, but the one they said they didn't want to make.

Placing Reyes (elbow) on the 60-day DL creates a spot for Holland.

It also means that all 60 of those minimum days must be spent during this season. That pushes his rehab assignment back as much as 25 days. So instead of pitching in minor-league games by mid-April, Reyes will have to wait to start his rehab assignment later in the month because there is a limit to how long he can be in the minors before being activated.

As recently as Monday in Montreal, the Cardinals said that Reyes had not had a physical setback when running or going through his simulated game work.

More later as this story develops, from Citi Field.

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