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Cardinals go for John Gast to replace Jake Westbrook

The Cardinals will get their first gut check of the season with the news that one of their red hot starting pitchers will head to the disabled list.

Jake Westbrook has been shut down with elbow inflammation. The Cardinals front office is downplaying the situations as being precautionary in nature. But after the Rafael Furcal and Jason Motte injuries -- which were sold as things that could be cured with rest -- who knows for sure?

In six starts Westbrook had a 1.67 ERA for St. Louis. But he's only translated that to two victories. The cardinals have chosen to call up John Gast to replace Westbrook on the active roster, an odd move since last season's sixth starter, Joe Kelly, has been rotting away in the bullpen. Also, minor league starters Carlose Martinez and Sethe Maness are already on the big club as replacements for Mitchell Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski.

It's not that Gast doesn't deserve the shot. He was 3-1 with a 1.16 ERA in Memphis. But the Cardinals are spreading their depth thin by digging down to the seventh or eighth guy on the depth chart as a starter while guys seeming ahead of him are in the bullpen.