While the St. Louis Cardinals got relatively good news on Saturday by finding that reliever Kevin Siegrist’s soreness was in his forearm rather than his elbow, the news wasn’t so good on minor-league reliever and 40-man roster member Keith Butler, according to this tweet from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold:
Speaking of injuries however … Keith Butler likely headed for Tommy John surgery in near/immediate future after second opinion. #stlcards
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) May 24, 2014
While Butler wasn’t on the big-league squad, having been demoted back to Triple-A Memphis after making the Opening Day roster, his loss could still be harmful to the Cardinals’ pitching depth. The undersized righty’s injury now will leave the Cardinals with only two healthy minor-league pitchers on the 40-man roster, those being Eric Fornataro and Jorge Rondon, two 26-year-old righthanders who have both spent time with the Cardinals this year. Longtime major-leaguer David Aardsma has put together a good year in Memphis, but beyond him the pitching depth is not the greatest.
Despite the fact that he possessed a dominant 0.84 ERA and a WHIP of less than 1.00 over 10.2 minor-league innings this year, Butler likely won’t hold onto his 40-man spot for the duration of his injury. The Cardinals have one open spot on the roster after outfielder Joey Butler was sent to Japan earlier this week, but the team will probably need to add more than one player from off the 40-man before the end of the season (Aardsma and outfielder Stephen Piscotty come to mind), and Butler would be the safest player to try to sneak through the waiver wire. The team pulled a similar maneuver with injured lefty John Gast last offseason, and just for practical reasons it would make sense to do the same with Butler.