Cardinals' bullpen gets healthy Maness back

Cardinals' bullpen gets healthy Maness back

ST.LOUIS -- The Cardinals activated relief pitcher Seth Maness from the 15-day disabled list and optioned Dean Kiekhefer to Triple-A Memphis prior to Sunday's series finale with the Rangers.

Maness went on the DL on May 14 when he was diagnosed with elbow inflammation by the team doctor. He had been optioned to Triple-A the day prior, but the injury allowed him to go on the DL instead and stay on the 40-man roster. Maness gave up 10 runs (nine earned) in 12 2/3 innings before the injury. During his rehab stint in Triple-A, Maness pitched five innings and posted a 1.80 ERA.

"I think it's just going to happen," Maness said of the injury. "If anyone plays this game long enough, if you stay healthy that long, you're just a freak and a specimen. Things are going to happen along the road. There will be bumps; you just have to deal with the bad and move on."

Maness had delayed telling the team about the injury, thinking he could pitch through it.

"I learned about taking care of my body and just listening to my body a little better," Maness said. "Really, the mental struggle I went through, something was going on, but I was trying to get outs. You question a lot of things, but you get things fixed and you know you can do it."

Maness' activation comes one day after the St. Louis bullpen gave up four runs in the final two innings in a loss to the Rangers on Saturday. Maness hasn't had any conversations with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny about his role yet. According to the reliever, he has regained his velocity and command.

"He's been such a big part of our 'pen and just a versatile pitcher for us," Matheny said. "His was more just getting some health things right so he can come back and help us."

Kiekhefer pitched 11 innings over 11 appearances with a 5.73 ERA during his first stint in the Major Leagues.

Nick Krueger is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.