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Cardinals retool bullpen, promoting Oviedo, adding Thompson and sending Whitley, Liberatore to Memphis

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St. Louis Cardinals start day 1 organized team workouts in Jupiter

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Johan Oviedo throws a bullpen session on the first day of organized team workouts on Monday, March 14, 2022, at the Cardinals spring training facility in Jupiter, Fla. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

CHICAGO — When the Cardinals were in scramble mode, snatching pitchers from any of their minor-league rosters and waivers just to get through a rigorous stretch of games in 2020, one of the revelations of spring emerged from the visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field to help.

Johan Oviedo took his first glance of Wrigley's ivy shortly before making his debut in front of it as he rushed to the majors to help.

Same ballpark. Same pitcher. Similar situation.

In a series of roster moves Friday morning, the Cardinals promoted Oviedo to the major-league pitching staff and added lefty Zack Thompson to the active roster. Both pitchers will be with the team for Friday afternoon's game against the Cubs, and it's possible either will be used in relief. 

To make room on the active roster for the two pitchers, the Cardinals optioned reliever Kodi Whitley and starter Matthew Liberatore to Class AAA Memphis. The return of Liberatore to the Triple-A affiliate all but assures he won't start against this former team, Tampa Bay, when that spot comes up next in the rotation.

Steven Matz (shoulder), after an update from the team, will be headed for a rehab assignment appearance next week if his bullpen session Sunday goes well.

Thompson, a first-round pick in 2019, had to be added to the 40-man roster, and to do so the Cardinals designated infielder Kramer Robertson for assignment. Thompson remains a candidate to start one of Saturday's game, though the Cardinals have also imagined a relief role for the lefty.

Jake Woodford is with the team in the Chicago, and the Cardinals plan to use him as a the 27th man for the doubleheader. That would set him up to start, though the decision is pending the use of the bullpen during Friday's game.

Oviedo, 24, is 4-2 with a 5.58 ERA in 10 starts for Memphis this season. He has 51 strikeouts in 50 innings. The Cardinals pressed Oviedo into the rotation a year ago to help them cover injuries to starting pitchers, and the right-hander was asked to develop on the job. The team has taken a more deliberate approach with the lean, powerful right-hander this season, giving him extended time in the minors and with the Memphis rotation to improve the command that cost him in the majors.

In unrelated moves, the Cardinals also officially started rehab assignments for outfielders Tyler O'Neill (shoulder) and Dylan Carlson (hamstring). O'Neill will start at DH for Memphis on Friday against Lance Lynn in Charlotte, and Carlson will join Class AA Springfield.

Here are todays starting lineups:

CARDINALS

1. Tommy Edman, SS

2. Nolan Gorman, DH

3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B

4. Nolan Arenado, 3B

5. Brendan Donovan, 2B

6. Corey Dickerson, LF

7. Lars Nootbar, RF

8. Harrison Bader, CF

9. Andrew Knizner 

P: Miles Mikolas, RHP

And here is the lineup that will try to aggravate the above group ...

CUBS

1. Christopher Morel, 2B

2. Rafael Ortega, CF

3. Ian Happ, LF

4. Frank Schwindel, DH

5. Patrick Wisdom, 3B

6. Jayson Heyward, RF

7. PJ Higgins, C

8. Alfonso Rivas, 1B

9. Andrelton Simmons, SS

P: Marcus Stroman, RHP

Check back later this evening for more news and expanded information, plus there will be the instant gamer story you've come to expect as a reader of the Post-Dispatch. And coming early in the morning, new to the beat, there will be expanded game coverage exclusive to StlToday.com.

 

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