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Cardinals notebook: Gallegos and Fowler activated; Hudson's sore elbow to be examined

Cardinals notebook: Gallegos and Fowler activated; Hudson's sore elbow to be examined

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The Cardinals Matt Carpenter, left, is congratulated by teammate Tyler O'Neill after hitting a solo home run in the second inning on Monday night in Kansas City.  

KANSAS CITY — Giovanny Gallegos, recovered from a strained right groin, rejoined the Cardinals’ bullpen — which didn’t need a lot of help based on recent games in which five different relievers, including Gallegos, had the club’s past five saves.

But the Cardinals’ offense, meandering at best for much of the season, got a potential jolt with the return of right fielder Dexter Fowler — who had been tending to a stomach ailment.

Fowler, who started Monday night against the Kansas City Royals, was hitting .278 with four homers and 14 runs batted in for 68 at-bats before he went out of the lineup. He was one for four in his return, in a game Kansas City won 4-1. Fowler struck out to end the game.

The almost daily roster juggling put outfielder Justin Williams and reliever Nabil Crismatt on option and, officially, back to St. Louis. That’s the new site for the alternate training site where about seven or eight players will work out until the Cardinals return home on Thursday.

In another 40-man maneuver, reliever Roel Ramirez, who famously allowed four homers in succession in one inning last month in Chicago, was designated for assignment.

Gallegos is the staff leader in saves, with four. But manager Mike Shildt, citing the bullpen depth, said, “We’ve been managing based on availability and based on best matchups and I think we’ll continue to look in that area.

“The good news is that you can match (Gallegos) against anybody.”

Gallegos came in Monday with the Cards trailing in the eighth and gave up a run and two hits.

Fowler, who was on the COVID portion of the injured list to guard against the medication he was taking affecting his immunity to the virus, is “on the right side of where he needs to be on this,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. “He was taking a very high of dosage when he began. And to be where we are today, we think it’s much more manageable and he’s almost through it. I think his risk is fairly minimal.”

Fowler had both discomfort and a lessening of energy while he was playing with the ailment, Mozeliak said.

“We’re playing a very unique schedule which doesn’t allow you a lot of breathing room. It just made sense during that period to go on this medication to allow himself to reset and he’s done that,” Mozeliak said. “We’re hopeful he can start where he left off.”

Shildt added, “I think we’ll evaluate him day by day. My understanding is him being back is that he’s ready to go and get after it on a daily basis. If it doesn’t look right or feel right we’ll make adjustments. I have expectations he looks to be an everyday fixture.”

There might be another move in the next day or so. Righthanded reliever Kodi Whitley, who had been out with COVID and then a sore elbow after being impressive in the first week of the season, threw well Saturday.

“In the next day or so, I imagine you might see him activated as well,” Mozeliak said,

Pitching patter

Righthander Dakota Hudson will return to St. Louis on Tuesday to have the soreness near his right elbow evaluated by Dr. George Paletta, the club’s head orthopedic surgeon.

“And then we’ll sort of know the next steps,” Mozeliak said.

So far, the injury is being treated as a flexor tendon strain but Hudson likely is out for any postseason action as well as missing the final week of the season.

The next step in the rotation is for lefthander Austin Gomber, who relieved Hudson in the third inning on Thursday in Pittsburgh after Hudson felt some tightness, to make Tuesday’s start here.

Righthander Daniel Ponce de Leon has made two starts on this trip but the second came on three days’ rest.

“We could bring Ponce back, and that would be twice on short rest,” said Shildt, “and I don’t think that’s fair to him. And Gomber has got the ability to throw up to 80 pitches. He’s by far the most built up and the most available guy in that capacity, so that pretty much sums up the decision.

“Gomber has pitched well and has started before. . . . so it was really a pretty clear decision.”

Gomber made two starts on the Cardinals’ last homestand, working a total of 5 2/3 innings without allowing a run. His first major-league road win as a starter came here two years ago, when he pitched four-hit ball over five scoreless innings.

Home away from home

Before Tuesday’s game, the Cardinals had won their past eight games at Kauffman Stadium, outscoring the Royals 60-15 and tossing three shutouts. No one has been more comfortable here than Matt Carpenter, who served as the designated hitter on Monday. Carpenter, who ended a dreadful slump with a key single in the seventh inning Sunday in Pittsburgh, smashed a 439-foot homer to right center off Royals starter Carlos Hernandez in the first inning.

After his fourth homer of the season, Carpenter was hitting an even .400 here (30 for 75) in his career with six homers and 19 RBIs in 20 games.


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