ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals reliever Eduardo Sanchez will begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday as he continues to recover from a strained right shoulder.

The right-hander, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 16, will pitch for Double-A Springfield on Thursday and Saturday, manager Tony La Russa said.

"If he was feeling great and we wanted to bring him up Saturday [it's a possibility], but I think the chances of that are slim," La Russa said on Tuesday.

Sanchez is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings over 25 appearances this season. He's converted five of his seven save chances, fanning 33 against 16 walks.

The Cardinals are looking for depth in their bullpen after releasing Miguel Batista and Ryan Franklin in the past two weeks and placing Brian Tallet on the 15-day DL on Tuesday.

Berkman's 350th homer sets Busch record

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals slugger Lance Berkman blasted a 452-foot home run in the first inning on Tuesday against the Reds, the longest homer in the history of Busch Stadium III.

Berkman's team-leading 23rd home run of the year was also the 350th of his career, tying him with Chili Davis for fourth place all-time among switch hitters.

The All-Star hit the first pitch he saw from Reds starter Edison Volquez deep into the right-field bleachers to give the Cards back-to-back homers and an early 2-0 advantage.

Matt Holliday had just homered to left field off Volquez, setting the stage for Berkman to deliver the Cards' fourth back-to-back home runs of the year. Berkman has been a part of all four.

Berkman's first-inning solo shot also broke Ryan Ludwick's record for the longest round-tripper at Busch III. Ludwick held the distinction of hitting the farthest homer for nearly three years after his 450-foot shot on July 22, 2008, against Milwaukee.

Cardinals sign Boyer, Mahay to Minors deals

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals signed a pair of pitchers to Minor League deals on Tuesday. The club feels it needs to improve pitching depth not only at the Major League level, but also in the Minors.

"As the summer unfolds, as many injuries as you see up here, you sometimes get the same down there in the Minors," general manager John Mozeliak said.

The Cardinals agreed to terms with right-hander Blaine Boyer, who made 15 appearances for the Cards in 2009. Boyer started the '11 season with the Mets, making five appearances in April before being designated for assignment. He allowed eight earned runs on 13 hits in 6 2/3 innings with New York. Boyer, 29, most recently pitched for the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate, allowing 12 earned runs in 8 innings.

"He's someone that's just looking for a place to pitch and we're looking to add depth, and if things go right for him, he could be that depth," Mozeliak said. "If it doesn't, then no harm in trying."

The club also signed left-hander Ron Mahay. Mahay, 40, made 10 appearances for the D-backs' Triple-A club this season, allowing 11 earned runs in 10 1/3 innings. The southpaw last pitched in the Majors in 2010 with the Twins, for whom he had a 3.44 ERA in 34 innings and struck out 25 against eight walks.

Intercostal strain lands Tallet on DL

ST. LOUIS-- The Cardinals placed relief pitcher Brian Tallet on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday with a right intercostal strain, opening up a roster spot for Albert Pujols on the club's active roster.

Tallet said he injured the muscle, which is in the area of his right rib cage, during a violent sneeze. The left-hander suffered the injury during the end of the Cardinals' last homestand, but did not notify the training staff for nearly a week.

"It just progressively didn't get any better, it got a little worse and then a little worse," Tallet said on Tuesday. "I'm the kind of guy that's going to go out there and try to battle through it until it gets to the point where they had to make a move."

The southpaw feels discomfort in his right side when he takes deep breaths and said it feels like "getting hit with a sledgehammer." Tallet will not throw for at least two days and will be able to rest during the All-Star break, which begins on July 11.

"The best thing is just to be able to get some good anti-inflammatory in there and knock out the inflammation and get it healthy," Tallet said. "You can't do that if you continually are grinding on it. I'll be able to get healed and help out the team in the second half."

The left-hander was able to pitch through the pain because the discomfort is located in his right side. But the injury limited Tallet's range of motion in his delivery. In his last outing on July 3 at Tampa Bay, Tallet gave up two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning as his ERA rose to 8.31.

"It doesn't allow me to twist and turn like I need to," Tallet said. "Everything has to work together for you to be really in sync and tuned in to throw the ball exactly where you want to. If anything's off in there, it can create bad habits and ill-advised pitches, and that's kind of where I'm at right now."

It's the second trip to the DL for Tallet this year. He was placed on the 15-day DL on July 13 with a fractured right hand.

Tallet has appeared in 18 games this season, allowing 12 earned runs on 20 hits in 13 innings.

Baby Birds

• Tyler Greene homered and went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, but it was not enough as Triple-A Memphis lost to Nashville, 5-4, on Monday. Bryan Anderson also homered for the Redbirds.

• Double-A Springfield fell, 15-5, to Midland on Monday despite getting hits from all of its starters.

• Alan Ahmady went 1-for-2 with a double and a pair of RBIs to propel Class A Palm Beach past Bradenton, 6-3, on Monday. Niko Vasquez paced the Cards with three hits.

• Kolten Wong, the Cardinals' 2011 first-round pick, hit the first home run of his professional career, but Class-A Quad Cities lost, 3-2, to Kane County on Monday. Wong scored both runs for the River Bandits. Starter Boone Whiting allowed one run in seven innings while striking out seven.

• Short-season Batavia rallied to win, 3-2, on Monday against Mahonig Valley thanks to a three-run eighth inning. Romulo Ruiz doubled and went 2-for-4.

• Rookie-level Johnson City beat Kingsport, 9-7, on Monday as all nine starters recorded at least one hit. Gary Apelian went 3-for-4 with a triple, a home run and three RBIs.

• Ildemaro Vargas went 3-for-4 as the Gulf Coast League Cardinals lost to the GCL Mets, 3-2, on Monday. St. Louis native Lance Jeffries went 1-for-4 with a double.