The Cardinals this morning made the move that was inevitable, sending Fernando Salas to Class AAA Memphis.
He'll be replaced on the roster by Chuckie Fick.
Salas was probably the most steady guy the Cardinals had returning to their bullpen in spring training. But now he is 0-3 with a 6.32 ERA and he has been a major factor this season in snatching several defeats from the jaws of victory. He's given up 23 hits and nine walks in 15 innings. Last year he gave up 50 hits in 75 innings and saved 24 games.
If he's not hurt, he's pretty obviously got mechanical problems. And that makes one wonder if it's just one of those things -- or if he is missing the presence of mechanics guru Dave Duncan.
Fick's not one of the flashier arms the Cardinals have in Memphis. But he has been solid this season. He's allowed 19 hits and seven walks allowed in 21 innings while striking out 10 opposing batters. He's got a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA. He's allowed three homers. But he has held batters to a .241 batting average.
In his most recent outing May 24, Fick pitched a perfect inning and a third. But, in the outing before that on May 22 he allowed four runs with three hits and two walks allowed in an inning.
Salas needs to pitch in Memphis -- and he needs to pitch a lot. Because the Cardinals need him to get back whatever it was that made him more effective and return to be a major contributor in the major league bullpen.