Martinez Will Be Reliever

(Busch Stadium) Following a side session and meeting with the team this afternoon, Carlos Martinez will now prepare to return to the St. Louis Cardinals as a reliever.

“We feel like the best road right now for Carlos is to continue to get his side work and it looks like it would probably be better for him to be in a short stint,” Manager Mike Shildt shared. “That’s the trajectory we’re going right now based on how he’s recovering, what he’s doing, what he feels he’s capable of. He’ll throw a couple of more sides here and then we’ll test it from there.”

Over the last couple of weeks, Martinez had progressed from just light catch to a 30-pitch continual bullpen of moderate to high intensity. He will continue to ramp up to full intensity and is scheduled for another side session on Friday and maybe one more before another evaluation.

“It’s just about the amount of intensity and the length of intensity,” Shildt said. “Sustaining intensity, which would obviously be required as a starter to throw sides and to be able to pitch every fifth or sixth day…We’d expect him to be able come back and be able to go a competent and confident 80-100 pitches and just don’t feel like we’re at this point right now and that’s an ask that he can give or we can ask.”

Martinez stated earlier in the week that he was open to pitching in whatever role the team decided. Shildt described today’s meeting as an open and “very collaborative” continuation of other conversations.

“His communication is he feels like he can compete and contribute and wants to in that role,” Shildt said. “Today was more okay, this is all the information we’ve gathered, this is everybody’s viewpoint, share yours and then let’s turn that into action.”

BADER NEARING RETURN

–A few moments before he discussed the plan for Martinez, Mike Shildt stood on the lip of right field and watched Harrison Bader go through a series of sprints on the bases. Eligible to come off the injured list tomorrow, Bader is expected to be activated and ready to go.

“He looks good,” Shildt said. “I won’t say for sure, but we’ll see how he checks out but I would expect that to be a good possibility. I’m very hopeful.”

Fellow outfielder Tyler O’Neill has headed down to Springfield (AA) and will begin a three-game rehabilitation assignment tonight. He is scheduled to receive four at-bats each game.

–Pitcher Luke Gregerson saw the doctor in St. Louis today and will be returning to Springfield for the rest of the weekend and will be used in a “more natural manner” instead of the structure of rehab.

photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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