Cards send their 2011 saves leader Salas to minors, recall Fick wire reports

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals optioned struggling reliever Fernando Salas, their closer much of last season, to Triple-A Memphis.

The 26-year-old Salas, a right-hander, had a team-leading 24 saves and a 2.28 ERA last year. This year he's 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA in 18 appearances.

The Cardinals also recalled rookie reliever Chuckie Fick from the minors. Fick is also 26 and also a right-hander. He was expected to be in uniform Saturday night against the Phillies, making his major-league debut.

Fick was a 15th round draft pick in 2007 out of Cal State-Northridge, and was 10 with a 3.86 ERA and two saves in a team-leading 21 appearances covering 21 innings in Memphis. His 2.30 ERA last year with Memphis was the fourth-best among Triple-A relievers with 50 or more appearances.

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