St. Louis Cardinals Recall Miguel Socolovich, Demote Tim Cooney, DL Tommy Pham


The St. Louis Cardinals made a series of roster moves on Friday afternoon, selecting the contract of righthanded reliever Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A Memphis, sending lefthanded starter Tim Cooney back to Memphis, and transferring outfielder Tommy Pham from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list in order to open up a 40-man roster spot for Socolovich.

Socolovich had not allowed any runs in seven appearances spanning 12.2 innings this season at Memphis. The 28-year-old has 12 games of big-league experience, having spent six games each with the Chicago Cubs and Baltimore Orioles during the 2012 season. Socolovich has a 6.06 ERA and 1.47 WHIP as a major-leaguer. His ability to go multiple innings made him an attractive option for the Cardinals, who used their two relievers with the most endurance, Matt Belisle and Carlos Villanueva, for 3.2 and 1.1 innings yesterday, respectively.

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Cooney ended up being on the big-league roster for just one day, as he made his MLB debut with a start yesterday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals came away with the victory, but it wasn’t thanks to Cooney, as the left-hander allowed three earned runs, including a home run to .179-hitting Darin Ruf, on seven hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. Cooney, who is ranked as the Cardinals’ 10th-best prospect by, will go back to Memphis and continue honing his craft as he aims to make himself a candidate for a more permanent rotation spot.

The Cardinals don’t have another off day until May 10, so they’ll need a fifth starter for the next turn through the rotation. Cooney won’t be eligible to return for that start since he has to spend 10 days in the minors following his demotion. Thus, the obvious candidates for the next start would be righty reliever Carlos Villanueva, who has started 76 big-league games and has served as the Cards’ long reliever so far this year, and Triple-A lefthander Tyler Lyons, who has big-league experience and is already on the 40-man roster. After a dreadful start to the season, Lyons threw eight shutout innings in his last start for Memphis on Tuesday.

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It’s difficult to see him being stretched out within four days, but righthanded reliever Matt Belisle has also started 44 major-league games, including one last year with the Colorado Rockies, and could be a possibility. Belisle has gone longer than a single inning just once this season, so he may not have the requisite endurance to start right now.

Pham’s transferral to the 60-day DL continues a frustrating season for the historically injury-plagued outfielder. After starting off spring training with a .412 batting average, Pham suffered a left quadriceps strain and hasn’t played since. He had the quad drained in early April but is still apparently struggling with an injury that usually does not linger more than a couple weeks.

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