ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals shook up their bullpen one day after four relievers were tagged for seven runs in four innings of a blowout loss to Pittsburgh.
The Cardinals on Saturday optioned right-hander Eduardo Sanchez and rookie left-hander Sam Freeman to Triple-A Memphis, and purchased the contract of rookie lefty Barret Browning and recalled right-hander Maikel Cleto from the same club. Both pitchers made the drive to St. Louis early Saturday in time for a day game against the Pirates.
"We need to keep moving forward, making adjustments as we go," manager Mike Matheny said. "All in all, it was time to make a move."
Right-handed reliever Kyle McClellan, sidelined by an elbow strain, was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Browning on the 40-man roster.
Sanchez and Freeman both struggled for the Cardinals, whose bullpen is 7-14 with a 4.67 ERA -- 28th in the majors -- and 13 blown saves in 29 chances. Sanchez was among several players to get a shot at closing last year, going 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA and five saves in seven chances before injuring his shoulder in mid-June.
In his last two appearances, Sanchez gave up four runs on three hits and three walks in one inning. He has walked 13 in 17 innings overall.
"We've got to throw strikes, we've got to work ahead in the count, got to be able to get more than one pitch over for a strike," Matheny said. "He needs to do that on a consistent basis."
All four of the relievers that pitched Friday night have ERAs of 6 or higher.
Browning, who will make his major league debut at age 27, was 2-3 with a 1.89 ERA with 36 strikeouts in 38 innings and was the Redbirds' lone representative for the Triple-A All-Star Game.
Browning said manager Pop Warner told him jokingly, "The All-Star Game, that's not going to work out, you're going to the big leagues."
"This is 10 times, a million times better," Browning added.
Cleto appeared in four games earlier this season and allowed three earned runs in five innings for a 5.40 ERA. He was 2-1 with a 3.94 ERA and one save in 27 games with Memphis.