ST. LOUIS -- Just a little more than two months after agreeing to a $1.9 million signing bonus, Michael Wacha, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, is headed to Double-A Springfield.
The promotion comes after Wacha dominated Class A Advanced competition at Palm Beach. In four relief appearances, Wacha allowed one hit, no runs and one walk in eight innings. He struck out 16 batters.
Wacha's professional start came in the Gulf Coast League, where the Cardinals wanted him to get his feet wet shortly after wrapping up his junior season at Texas A&M University. The right-hander pitched in three GCL games before joining Palm Beach.
Now, he's headed to Springfield, which has about two weeks of games remaining in its regular-season schedule.
"As far as the reasoning, it's partly due to the success he's had at Palm Beach already, and also a chance to expose him to the environment in Springfield," farm director John Vuch said. "In the role he's going to have this season, [we] felt he was ready to handle the next challenge."
Wacha, who is expected to eventually ascend to the Majors as a starter, is pitching in relief this summer in order to limit his workload. He'll continue to pitch about two innings every five days, as he was doing with Palm Beach. Before the Cardinals took him with the No. 19 overall pick in the Draft, Wacha threw 113 1/3 innings in collegiate competition.
Rosenthal headed back to Memphis
ST. LOUIS -- Needing to make room for Jaime Garcia to be added back to the team's 25-man roster, the Cardinals are optioning reliever Trevor Rosenthal to Triple-A Memphis.
The move was made after Saturday's game, one in which Rosenthal pitched two-thirds of an inning. It was the right-hander's only appearance since being recalled from the Minors on Tuesday, when the Cardinals had to place Brian Fuentes on the restricted list.
Rosenthal is expected to rejoin Memphis' rotation, though the organization could invite him back to St. Louis in September, when teams are allowed to expand their rosters beyond 25 players.
Garcia needed to come off the 60-day disabled list before Sunday, which is when he'll make his first start for the Cardinals since June 5. The left-hander, who was sidelined by a left shoulder impingement, also has to be added to the 40-man roster. The Cardinals opened up space for him there when they released Triple-A first baseman Mark Hamilton on Friday.
Though St. Louis is adding a starter while subtracting a reliever, its bullpen will still consist of seven pitchers. Joe Kelly is now available to pitch in relief after getting sufficient rest following his 97-pitch start on Tuesday.
Matheny OK with Cards' second-base setup
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has been getting plenty of questions lately -- more than he'd prefer -- about who's playing second base and why. While Ryan Jackson started at second on Saturday, most often it's been Daniel Descalso -- who leads the Cardinals with 50 starts there. Skip Schumaker has also started 27 times at second.
The decision to play Descalso was a popular topic of discussion after the Cardinals' 2-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday, in which Descalso went 0-for-4 to drop his batting average in August to .196. Descalso, who is batting .230 this season heading into play on Saturday, played all nine innings, while Schumaker -- leading St. Louis with a .314 average in 70 games -- remained on the bench.
"The question itself is how we're using players, and I've got no problem answering those questions -- especially to the guys themselves," Matheny said before Saturday's game. "We've had some discussions with the guys to put them in the best situations so they can succeed, and where our team's going to succeed. Sometimes it comes in bunches, and other times it doesn't work out right."
Descalso is highly regarded defensively by Matheny, and the 25-year-old has the highlight-reel diving stops to prove it. With Jake Westbrook, a sinkerball pitcher, on the hill on Friday, Matheny said he wanted Descalso's glove in the game to capitalize on the high amount of grounders and double-play opportunities.
Perhaps Schumaker's bat could have made a difference in St. Louis' second straight one-run loss, notably in a second and third, no-out spot in the seventh. Descalso hit for himself and flied out to shallow left, which did not push home a run. Schumaker owns a .390 average with runners in scoring position, while Descalso is batting .102 in similar situations.
Still, Matheny maintained that with the offensive production the rest his lineup is capable of, he's OK with sacrificing a bit offensively by going with Descalso to bolster his infield defensively.
"You try and keep everybody sharp, and there's some things that go on behind the scenes -- players and matchups that you guys aren't going to be informed about -- and there's gonna be certain pitches some guys just have trouble with that might dictate it," Matheny said. "There's a lot that goes into it. I know that, at the end of the day, we've made the right decision -- and whether everybody understands it or not is really not the goal. As long as the player understands."
Cards shuffle lineup on Saturday
ST. LOUIS -- After his club missed out on a handful of run-scoring opportunities in back-to-back 2-1 losses, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny shuffled up his lineup for Saturday's game against Pittsburgh.
Matheny wrote up a lineup with just one lefty -- Matt Carpenter -- to face Pirates left-hander Erik Bedard. Carpenter started in right field, as Matheny wanted to give Carlos Beltran a day off.
"He just looks tired," Matheny said of Beltran. "Everybody is, but he seems to be one that responds well to getting a little rest, coming back fresh."
Beltran -- leading the National League with 83 RBIs -- is batting .236 since the All-Star break, and his average has been below .300 since July 8. Allen Craig batted cleanup in Beltran's place.
Yadier Molina returned to the lineup after missing three straight games with back pain. Molina had been available to pinch-hit or catch in emergency situations for the past two games, but said on Saturday his back felt much better.
"Each day it's better and better, and today I was ready to go," Molina said. "I'm happy for that because it's important for us to try to win. I'm happy to be healthy and be part of that."
Rafael Furcal batted leadoff after hitting eighth in seven of the Cardinals' last eight games. Shane Robinson got the start in center.
DSL Cardinals throw combined no-hitter
ST. LOUIS -- The Dominican Summer League Cardinals struck out 17 in a combined no-hitter against the DSL Indians on Friday.
Left-hander Isaac Silva threw the first seven hitless innings. He struck out 15 and allowed only two baserunners, both of whom reached via a walk. Those walks came in a span of three first-inning batters, after which the DSL Cardinals retired the final 24 hitters that came to the plate.
Silva, 19, turned the no-hitter over to 17-year-old right-handed reliever Frederis Parra, who breezed through his two innings. On the offensive end, the DSL Cardinals backed the pitching performance by scoring five times on five hits.
The win improved the DSL Cardinals to 35-30 this season. The team finished 27-44 in 2011.
Matt Holliday entered Saturday just 1-for-15 with a homer on the Cardinals' homestand, and was hitting .222 in August after batting .363 in 25 games in July.
Matheny said right-hander Joe Kelly, who was moved to the bullpen following his last start on Tuesday, was available but not likely to pitch on Saturday.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.