Cards won't rush Reyes to Majors

Cards won't rush Reyes to Majors

ST. LOUIS -- Unless need forces a change to the organization's plans, the Cardinals do not intend to rush top prospect Alex Reyes to the Majors this season.

The anticipation of Reyes' arrival in St. Louis is palpable, even more so since he finished serving a 50-game suspension and made his season debut with Triple-A Memphis on May 21. In three starts, Reyes has allowed seven hits, seven walks and three earned runs in 15 innings. He's also struck out 26.

A strong first impression in Triple-A, however, does not make the 21-year-old Reyes Major League-ready at the moment, general manager John Mozeliak insisted.

"In a perfect world, he pitches in Triple-A," Mozeliak said. "I get a little frustrated when I get Reyes question after question, because he missed six weeks of the season already and allowing him more than four starts in Memphis is certainly in our plans from an organizational standpoint. It's a great resource to know that's there, but he's far from a finished product."

Mozeliak noted that Reyes' immediate priority should be to improve pitch efficiency. Through his three starts, Reyes has averaged 18 pitches per inning.

As the Cardinals see it, they don't have an immediate need for Reyes on the big league roster. Though the pitching staff has a pedestrian 4.20 ERA (ranked 18th in the Majors) entering Saturday, the rotation doesn't have a glaring hole, and the bullpen has been faring pretty well. The Cardinals are also hesitant to utilize Reyes as a reliever this early in the season. Not only would that preclude him from getting extended outings to work on the command of all his pitches, but it would limit his overall workload.

That innings count is important, too, when looking ahead to 2017. If the Cardinals choose to have Reyes as part of their rotation next year, they'd like to be able to count on him to pitch every five days for a full season. Reyes wouldn't be cleared for that sort of workload if he doesn't log enough innings this season.

"Candidly, right now, our bullpen is not screaming for help," Mozeliak said. "He needs to go down there and continue developing as a player, and that's our plan for him."

Using Reyes in the bullpen will become a more viable option later in the season.

Worth noting

• Right-hander Jerome Williams, who signed a Minor League contract with the Cardinals on Friday, is scheduled to make his organizational debut on Sunday, when he starts for Memphis.

• Luke Weaver, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, has been assigned to the Double-A Springfield after working his way back from a Spring Training wrist injury to his non-throwing hand. The right-hander, who is ranked the club's No. 3 prospect, made several appearances in extended spring camp to build back arm strength before joining an affiliate.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.