ST. LOUIS -- Carlos Martinez made his climb through the Cardinals' farm system exclusively as a starter, which is why he was as surprised as anyone to collect his first Major League win in relief.
Martinez earned that milestone victory on Monday, when he pitched two innings during the Cardinals' 8-6 comeback win over the Reds. Though he doesn't yet have his hands on it, Martinez has been promised a game ball from the win. He said he will send it to his parents in the Dominican Republic.
"It's something I'm really excited about to have been in that position and do my part to help the team win," Martinez said, with teammate Jaime Garcia translating. "It's something I will never forget."
Martinez may start again before the end of the season, but for now, he has settled back into the bullpen. He has vacillated between the two roles for much of the season. Eleven of his 12 big league appearances have been in relief, while all 15 of his Minor League outings have been starts.
The Cardinals still project Martinez' long-term fit to be in the rotation, and Martinez is hopeful that lessons learned during his time relieving can help regardless of the future role.
"As a reliever, I have to lock it in every single pitch or else one pitch can determine the game," Martinez said. "As a starter, I try not to do it, but sometimes you get a little comfortable. I'm glad they put me in the bullpen at the Major League [level]. I definitely believe that, in the future, if I'm going to be a starter, that [experience] will help me a lot."
Cardinals' win no picnic for beat-up Holliday
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday took a beating during Tuesday night's 6-1 win over the Reds. The Cardinals left fielder fouled two balls off his left leg, missing his shin guard at two different spots. Holliday was also hit in the left arm with a pitch by Reds reliever Alfredo Simon in the eighth, leaving him "pretty sore" after the game.
"I'll probably take a catching shin guard out there tomorrow," joked Holliday, who went 2-for-3, including an RBI single in a two-run first inning. "[Edward] Mujica had one for me after the game, so maybe we'll see if I can run with one of those."
Shane Robinson pinch-ran for Holliday after he was plunked in the eighth, immediately after fouling a ball off his leg for the second time, and replaced him in left field. Manager Mike Matheny said Holliday did not require X-rays for his left leg.
"He's got a pad there, but he keeps missing it. Either have to move the pad or put a bigger one on him," Matheny said. "When you hit the ball as hard as he hits it and keep hitting the same spot, that one hangs around a while."
Cards option Lyons, prompting rotation revisions
ST. LOUIS -- By optioning left-hander Tyler Lyons to Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday, the Cardinals have taken him out of the starting mix for the team's upcoming series in Pittsburgh.
Manager Mike Matheny indicated over the weekend that the organization planned to keep Lyons in the rotation and not use the upcoming off-day on Thursday to skip any of the starters' spots. That plan, though, is now being revised.
Barring an injury to someone, the Cardinals cannot add Lyons back to the roster until Sept. 3, the day after the Triple-A regular season ends. The Cardinals could slot Lyons in to pitch that Tuesday by starting Joe Kelly on Sunday and Adam Wainwright on Monday. Because of the off-day, both Kelly and Wainwright would still be pitching on normal days' rest.
If the Cardinals instead choose to stick with a five-man rotation, Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha would have to slide in for a start on Sunday. Asked to clarify the club's rotation intent, Matheny simply offered that "everything is always an option."
After finding out about the Cardinals' roster move on Tuesday, Lyons remained at the ballpark to participate in pregame work with the club. Though he won't be pitching in Memphis over the next week, Lyons could still report to Triple-A to get his side work in with that club before being added back to the big league roster.
If Lyons were to pitch next Tuesday, he'd be facing the same Cincinnati team that he pitched against on Monday. Lyons allowed four runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks in five innings in that start. He struck out a career-best seven, including Joey Votto twice.
Ramsey, Piscotty among AFL participants
ST. LOUIS -- Outfielders James Ramsey and Stephen Piscotty highlight a group of seven Cardinals Minor Leaguers who have confirmed participation in the Arizona Fall League.
The AFL announced rosters for its six clubs on Tuesday. The Cardinals' players feed onto the Salt River Rafters team, which will be managed by Double-A Springfield skipper Mike Shildt. Filling out the rest of the Cardinals' list of participants are left-hander Anthony Ferrara, right-hander Sam Gaviglio, left-hander Dean Kiekhefer, left-hander Lee Stoppelman and infielder Jacob Wilson.
Ramsey (No. 23 overall), Piscotty (No. 36 overall), Wilson (10th round) and Stoppleman (24th round) were all products of the Cardinals' 2012 First-Year Player Draft. Ramsey and Piscotty have already advanced to Double-A. Ferrara, an '07 draftee, is also currently with the Springfield club. He has a 5.67 ERA and 7-5 record in 22 games (19 starts).
Ramsey, ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' No. 12 prospect, was promoted to Springfield early in the season. He has since hit .257 with a .358 on-base percentage, 15 homers and 44 RBIs in 90 games. Piscotty (No. 9 prospect), who has converted from a third baseman to outfielder, earned a midseason promotion from high-A. In 42 games with Springfield, Piscotty has hit .274 with a .347 on-base percentage.
Stoppelman has a combined 1.41 ERA in 51 relief appearances with high-A Palm Beach and Springfield this season. Wilson has played primarily second base in his first full professional season. He has been at both Class A levels, combining to hit .252 with a .343 on-base percentage, 18 homers, 27 doubles and 82 RBIs in 122 games.
Gaviglio will use the AFL to make up the innings lost due to injury this season. Gaviglio was placed on the disabled list in April and just recently came off. As a result, he has accrued only 40 2/3 innings this season. Kiekhefer can make up for a lost month as well with his appearances in the AFL. The lefty has a 3.61 ERA in 33 appearances between high-A and Double-A.
The AFL season will begin on Oct. 8 and continue through the Championship Game on Nov. 16.
Cardinals recall righty Salas to bolster bullpen
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals recalled right-handed reliever Fernando Salas on Tuesday to fill the roster spot vacated by Tyler Lyons, who was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Salas, 28, tossed 11 innings of relief for Memphis this month, tallying eight saves and posting a 1.64 ERA. The 28-year-old has bounced between the Minors and the big leagues the last four seasons, appearing in 19 games for the Cardinals this year with an 0-2 record and a 4.79 ERA through 20 2/3 innings.
Salas said Tuesday he hadn't yet been told how he would be used, but he has primarily served as a middle reliever this season. He provides a fresh option out of the 'pen with September callups still a few days away.
"It's different in the Minor Leagues than here, but I feel good is what's important," Salas said. "Just be ready in every situation, and you never know."
• As Mets pitcher Matt Harvey considers his treatment options in light of being diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, he can look to Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright as someone who pitched for 12 years after first being diagnosed with a partial UCL tear.
Wainwright recalled on Tuesday how he was bothered by the injury during his junior year of high school and then again six years later, when he was pitching in Triple-A. He was prescribed rest and rehab, and after the second setback was given a 60 percent chance of coming back without issue. Wainwright went on to pitch six more seasons before eventually having to undergo Tommy John surgery.
"You don't want to say, 'It's just a matter of time [until surgery],' because you never know," Wainwright said. "[Harvey] could pitch 12 more years and be fine. That would be a great career. He could also pitch again and never have another pain in his elbow. It can happen. It's just rare. Most of the time it leads to something more."
• Right-hander Jake Westbrook (lower back strain) gave a thumbs up after throwing his first bullpen session since being placed on the disabled list. Westbrook is not eligible to come off the DL until Sept. 6.
• MLB Network announced that it will broadcast the Cardinals' Labor Day game in Cincinnati next Monday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m. CT.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.