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Cardinal news and notes: Shelby Miller, MLB Draft, ticket sales

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Shelby Miller’s exile to the bullpen is over; the team announced they will return the righty to the rotation and move Carlos Martinez back into the bullpen. Miller pitched one inning as a reliever. The team cited rest for the original reason for the move, but Miller has struggled in his sophomore season. Many attribute his issues to his inability to throw consistent secondary pitches. If Miller continues to struggle, a minor league demotion might be in order; the team should send him to Memphis (AAA) and re-institute the “no shake” rule. In 2012, the Cardinals implemented a rule where Miller could not shake off a pitch that the catcher called for; he started to use pitches other than his fast ball and started to succeed. Something similar might help him get back to his rookie form.

Martinez took the demotion in stride. He told manager Mike Matheny that he’s lacking consistency with his pitches. He’s made 7 starts this season, and only once has he reached the 6th inning; part of this is due to limiting pitch counts from his transition from the bullpen. Martinez could return to the rotation in August. With off days this week and next, the Cardinals were going with a 4-man rotation.

The Cardinals activated LHP Kevin Siegrist from the 15 day DL yesterday; LHP Nick Greenwood was sent back to Memphis (AAA). Siegrist was missed from the Cardinal bullpen; he’s not just a lefty in the ‘pen, but a reliable 8th inning complement to righty Pat Neshek. While not as dominant as he was last year, his 3.60 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 20 innings is pretty good. Greenwood was expendable as the 3rd lefty in the bullpen; logically, the team prefers Randy Choate, Sam Freeman, and Siegrist over the rookie.

The MLB draft can be very tricky to those who don’t follow it. For example, Major League Baseball has instituted 2 Competitive Balance rounds for small market teams. The first round is after the compensation picks of the first round of the draft. The second is after the regular second round. Teams in the bottom third of revenue are entered for one of 12 additional draft picks; these picks, unlike the regular draft picks, can be traded. The Cardinals received the 3rd pick of Round A for 2015; this will be around the 40th overall pick. The Cardinals held a Round B pick (in the second round) of this past draft, selecting RHP Andrew Morales of UC-Irvine.

While Cardinal fans can be happy about the pick, the Chicago Cubs are not. Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein call the pick “a gift.” "They do extremely well from a baseball standpoint and from a revenue standpoint," said Epstein. While that might be true to an extent, the Cardinals don’t have the media deals that bigger cities, like Chicago, have to generate revenue. Yes, the Cardinals are a well-run team, but that is not a reason to penalize them for having a smaller source of income.

The team has announced they are selling $9 tickets for the upcoming series with the Red Sox. The team has 9,000 tickets available to the public this morning; part of the reason for the discount could be the struggles of the Red Sox. The Cardinals have a dynamic pricing program, where the ticket prices fluctuate for many reason, including the play of their opponent. Since the Red Sox are having a down year, many people may be passing on a mid-week series with the defending champs.

On a lighter note, Yadier Molina decided to have some fun with his brother Jose, one of the catchers for the Tampa Bay Rays. Yadier, with the help of Cardinal third base coach Jose Oquendo, left 2 packages of cheese cracker sandwiches on home plate for his brother. While no word of why the crackers, it’s probably an interesting inside joke.

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