STL@MIA: Siegrist pitches a perfect inning of relief

ST. LOUIS -- Finding the appropriate spots to use Randy Choate out of the bullpen became increasingly difficult for manager Mike Matheny during a five-week stretch in which Choate was the lone lefty in the 'pen. But that void left with Marc Rzepczynski's departure has recently been filled -- and filled quite well -- by rookie Kevin Siegrist, whose successful start is providing Matheny with more flexibility in how he lines up his bullpen.

The presence of a second lefty -- and one who is not a defined left-on-left specialist like Choate -- has given Matheny another mid-game option. And having that option allows the Cardinals to now save Choate until a critical matchup arises later in the game. That flexibility was displayed in Monday's win, a game in which Siegrist earned his first big league hold.

With Shelby Miller out of the game after five innings and Matheny wanting to stay away from Choate that early, Matheny called upon Siegrist to start the sixth. Siegrist went on to face five hitters, three of whom were left-handed. He retired four of them -- including both right-handed hitters -- and was not hurt by the one walk he issued.

"What I watch, more than anything else, is how the hitters react," Matheny said. "And right now, they seem to be having as hard a time picking him up as the lefties do. When we need somebody to jump in there and get a couple lefties and a tough righty in between, he's proven that he can do that."

Siegrist, a 41st-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, has allowed only one hit and one walk in his first 6 2/3 Major League innings. He is the first Cardinals lefty to open his career with six straight scoreless appearances since '05-06, when Tyler Johnson had 11 scoreless outings in a row.

Minor matters

ST. LOUIS -- Some notes from around the Cardinals' Minor League system:

• Right-hander Michael Wacha is scheduled to start for Memphis on Tuesday. It will be Wacha's first start since being sent down from St. Louis. The Cardinals, who are carefully monitoring Wacha's workload, gave the right-hander two extra days of rest before inserting him back into the Triple-A rotation.

• With the Midwest League All-Star break falling this week, eight players on the Cardinals' low Class A roster in Peoria, Ill., traveled to St. Louis to attend Tuesday's game. The group -- which included Michael Aldrete, Joe Donofrio, Thomas Lee, Robert Stock, Samuel Tuivailala, Jeremy Schaffer, Christopher Thomas and Joseph Scanio - also watched batting practice from the field.

• Highly-touted pitching prospect Carlos Martinez took the loss for Memphis on Monday, as he allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. Though only 52 of the 102 pitches Martinez threw in the outing were strikes, he has built himself back up to where he would be an option should the Cardinals need to move someone new into the rotation.

• Mitchell Boggs pitched in relief of Martinez and gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings. Since being demoted to Triple-A for the second time this season, Boggs has allowed five earned runs on 12 hits and five walks in 9 1/3 innings. He has struck out five batters.

Worth noting

• A night after exiting his start early due to cramping in his right leg, Shelby Miller was feeling fine and participated in his normal on-field routine on Tuesday. Miller should have no issue making his next scheduled start on Saturday.

• Matheny said that he hopes that Miller's dehydration issues on Monday serve as a reminder as to how necessary it will be for players to fill up on fluids as the hot weather moves in this summer. As the weather gets warmer, too, expect Matheny to be more liberal in finding days off for his starters.

• With his 20th save on Monday, Edward Mujica became the first Cardinals closer to open the season by converting 20 straight save opportunities since Tom Henke did so in his first 22 chances in 1995.

• In addition to announcing the signing of first-round Draft pick Rob Kaminsky on Tuesday, the Cardinals announced that the following players had also agreed to terms on a signing bonus: RHP Andrew Pierce (eighth round), SS Richy Pedroza (17th round), SS J.J. Altobelli (18th round), RHP Michael Holback (25th round), RHP Will Anderson (26th round) and 1B Justin Ringo (28th round). The Cardinals also signed infielder Kyle Grieshaber (Central Missouri State) and catcher Frankie Rodriguez, a 17-year-old Puerto Rican, as undrafted free agents.

• The Cardinals announced that they will hold a "VoteSTL" Rally outside Busch Stadium Gate 3 at 1 p.m. CT on Wednesday to encourage fans to support the Cardinals in the ongoing All-Star Vote. Several civic leaders -- including Peter Kinder, Lt. governor of Missouri; Francis Slay, St. Louis mayor; and Charlie Dooley, St. Louis County executive -- are scheduled to be in attendance, along with mascots from all three St. Louis professional sports teams. Fans are encouraged to attend the rally, where they will get more information about how to cast All-Star votes.