ST. LOUIS -- Reliever Steve Cishek was unaware that his name had been circulating in the trade rumor mill until Thursday, when Miami manager Dan Jennings pulled him aside before the Marlins' game in San Diego.
Jennings, the team's general manager until a May move into the dugout, was candid with Cishek, telling the right-hander that his name had come up in trade discussions with a handful of teams. Cishek was told the Cardinals were among the most interested clubs.
Cishek went home that evening and shared the news with his wife, telling her that "if I were traded to the Cardinals, it would be the best situation possible."
A day later, a deal was officially done.
The Cardinals sent Double-A pitcher Kyle Barraclough to the Marlins to acquire Cishek, who was then added to the active roster prior to Saturday's game. Cishek's arrival comes at a necessary time for the Cardinals, who need relief in the back end of their bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal, Kevin Siegrist and Seth Maness have each pitched three of the last four days.
Cishek saw plenty of familiar faces when he walked into the new clubhouse. He was teammates with Randy Choate in Miami had been a member of a joint Bible study with Cardinals players during Spring Training in Jupiter, Fla., where the Marlins and Cardinals share a facility.
Cishek arrives, too, having found his rhythm after a tumultuous start to the season. After losing his closer's job, he was demoted to Double-A after blowing four saves, losing five games and posting a 6.98 ERA in his first 19 appearances. He said the root of his troubles were with his arm slot, which is already unusual given his sidearm delivery.
"I was just getting underneath my pitches," Cishek explained. "It took away some velocity and my sinker flattened out. Especially to lefties, I had a really hard time locating a down-and-away strike. It would just take off. All they would do is sit on my slider, and they were just knocking it around. It was a tough adjustment."
Cishek raised his arm slot slightly, and since returning to the Majors, he has allowed just one run in 13 outings.
"When you're not feeling right mechanically after a while and you're not getting the results, it can mess you up mentally a little bit," Cishek said. "I was able to fine-tune some things there and get back on the right track, so I feel great."