Cardinals activate Belisle from disabled list

Veteran right-hander had been sidelined by elbow injury since June

Cardinals activate Belisle from disabled list

CINCINNATI -- The Cardinals activated Matt Belisle from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday so that he would be an available arm for both the remainder of Friday's suspended game and the day's regularly scheduled contest.

Belisle most recently pitched on June 25, after which he was placed on the DL due to discomfort in his right elbow. The injury took longer to heal than initially expected, but Belisle has progressed quickly since being cleared to resume throwing in late August. Over the past 10 days, he threw three simulated games to get a feel for how effective his pitches would be against hitters.

"It's just been almost not wanting to blow down the door," Belisle said of his eagerness to return. "After [being placed on the] 60-day [DL], I knew this was going to take its course. Since then, I've tried to take the opportunity from the mental side to control what I can each day. This last week, I got even antsier because I felt a lot better and had thrown really well. I'm just extremely happy and excited now to contribute."

The Cardinals had planned to activate Belisle earlier in this series, but they delayed the move until Major League Baseball officially announced an 80-game suspension for Cody Stanley. Stanley is removed from the 40-man roster while serving that suspension. That created the opening the Cardinals needed to add Belisle.

"[He gives us] another experienced arm," manager Mike Matheny said. "Fortunately, he has been such an active part [of the club]. It's not like he's one of those guys we say we're just happy to have back and have around, because he's been around and he's been making an impact."

Belisle signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals in December and began the season as one of the team's late-inning arms. He posted a 3.00 ERA through 30 games before being sidelined. Now, he returns to a bullpen that has even more setup options, as the Cardinals acquired Steve Cishek and Jonathan Broxton during Belisle's absence.

How Belisle pitches over the final three weeks of the regular season will determine if/how he fits into the team's postseason mix.

"I felt like I had to do everything I could while I was off this roster to be mentally prepared and help everybody else around if there was a way to do that," Belisle said. "Now that I'm back, all I have to do is prepare to take the phone call from [Matheny] and prepare to get outs when I'm called on. I can't do anything past that, but I'm sure going to do that to the best of my ability."

Worth noting

• Matheny said the Cardinals would "most likely" roll their rotation over in order following Monday's off day. That means Carlos Martinez, Jaime Garcia and John Lackey, in that order, will line up to face the Brewers next week.

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