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8/17/2014 2:57 P.M. ET

Cards recall Martinez after tuneup at Triple-A

ST. LOUIS -- With the Cardinals needing a fresh arm for the bullpen and Carlos Martinez trending in the right direction at Triple-A, the Cardinals recalled the right-hander on Sunday after a 16-day stay in the Minors.

Martinez was traveling from El Paso, Texas, to join the big league team and was expected to arrive at Busch Stadium midway through Sunday's game. The Cardinals will use him immediately, if needed, as Martinez has thrown only 25 pitches since a six-inning start for Memphis on Aug. 10. Those 25 pitches came during a start on Friday in a game that was washed out early in his outing.

In the two official starts he made after the demotion, Martinez combined to pitch 10 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out seven.

"I think he was aggressive in the strike zone with the fastball, which is the basics for everything," manager Mike Matheny said. "After that, he was really finding a good feel for his slider. When you have a guy coming out of the bullpen for maybe one-plus innings and you have two way-above-average pitches, you ought to be very effective."

Martinez was sent down after struggling in the Cardinals' rotation; the organization hoped some work in less-pressured situations would get the right-hander back on track. He was expected back up once rosters expand in September, though need prompted an earlier return.

The Cardinals have flexibility in how to use Martinez, as he can provide length out of the 'pen but has also been the team's setup man for sustained stretches. He also better balances the bullpen by giving Matheny a fourth right-hander. With two of those right-handers (Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal) designated as the team's eight- and ninth-inning arms, Matheny had been handcuffed in his ability to play to matchups recently.

Martinez took the spot of Kevin Siegrist, who was optioned to Memphis on Saturday night. The left-hander struggled after being activated from the disabled list on July 23, posting a 12.38 ERA in nine appearances. 

Siegrist sent down to seek regained confidence

ST. LOUIS -- Kevin Siegrist insisted after Saturday's implosion that he was feeling healthy but otherwise had few answers for his recent struggles. He'll now get time to reflect and rework in Triple-A.

Sensing that Siegrist needed a change of scenery in order to work his way out of a funk, the Cardinals optioned the left-hander to Memphis on Saturday. The move came immediately after he served up a grand slam to lose a lead against the Padres in the third game of a four-game series.

"We want him feeling good again about his stuff," manager Mike Matheny said. "Hopefully he'll find a good rhythm. I think he's always going to have to continue to work on that breaking ball that will help him be successful against left-handed hitters. And we've seen a drop in velocity from when he feels physically strong. There's something that is just a click off. We've talked about this before, trying to get somebody right here isn't always the right answer."

Excluding a recent rehab assignment, Siegrist hasn't been in the Minors since June 2013. Upon being called up last season, he dominated opponents -- allowing 17 hits and two runs in 39 2/3 innings -- and opened this season as one of the Cardinals' setup men.

It's been a rocky road since, especially after he returned from a two-month stint on the disabled list three weeks ago. In nine outings since coming back, Siegrist allowed 11 runs on 13 hits in eight innings. Opponents have hit .351 against him. Command has been off, and velocity has been down. It's been a volatile mix.

"I think all season it's been a little different than what we saw last year," Matheny said. "We gave him a long rest trying to get past that. I don't think you ever discount everything. When a guy does have an injury and gets back healthy, there are usually some modifications that they were making along the way to survive at the time. That could be part of the equation. But right now, it just seems like something is off mechanically. And then that affects the confidence."

Siegrist will have to remain in the Minors for a minimum of 10 days (unless the Cardinals place someone on the disabled list), meaning that he'll be ready to return when rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Worth noting

• Stuck in an 0-for-19 rut and still bothered by an achy left knee, left fielder Matt Holliday was out of the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday. Prior to sitting, Holliday had started 119 of the team's 122 games this season.

"I think they're interrelated," manager Mike Matheny said of Holliday's knee troubles and results. "He's trying to grind for us because we need everyone to grind for us right now. He's feeling it. You can tell by some of his movements."

• Triple-A Memphis is riding a six-game winning streak after a 2-1 victory over El Paso on Saturday. Boone Whiting started the game for the Redbirds and scattered three hits and two walks over four scoreless innings. He struck out four. Pete Kozma and Scott Moore drove home Memphis' runs with sacrifice flies.

• Prior to Sunday's game, the Cardinals honored former manager Tony La Russa, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame three weeks ago. La Russa, wearing his red jacket, threw out a ceremonial first pitch to his managerial successor, Matheny.

• The Reds have announced their rotation plans for their upcoming visit to St. Louis and will start Mike Leake (9-11, 3.59 ERA) on Monday, Alfredo Simon (12-8, 3.28 ERA) on Tuesday and Johnny Cueto (15-6, 2.06 ERA) on Wednesday.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.