Rosenthal's resurgence helping solidify bullpen

Wainwright could return for weekend start; Fowler making progress

Rosenthal's resurgence helping solidify bullpen

MILWAUKEE -- Stability hasn't exactly been a staple of the Cardinals' bullpen this season, but the club does appear to have solved its ninth-inning issues with the reemergence of Trevor Rosenthal, who, with Wednesday's four-out save in the Cards' 5-4 victory over the Brewers, has now held opponents scoreless in 10 of his last 11 appearances.

The closer's role isn't unfamiliar to Rosenthal, who ranks fifth on the franchise's all-time saves list with 117. But the look has been a bit different as of late.

Rosenthal has been pushed beyond one inning of work three of his last four times out, and he's featuring a more varied repertoire. The latter was a byproduct of a late June series in Arizona, where Rosenthal was knocked for three runs over two innings.

"I really realized I had good velocity and was making good pitches and they were still able to have tough at-bats against me and make me throw a lot of pitches," Rosenthal said. "I think at that point, I was starting to get frustrated, like, 'I know I can do a little bit better.'"

Since then, Rosenthal has shown a greater willingness to turn to his offspeed pitches, most notably the changeup and slider. In 2016, offspeed pitches accounted for at least one-third of Rosenthal's pitches thrown in an outing just nine times. He hit that percentage seven times last month alone.

Opponents are batting .085 against Rosenthal's offspeed pitches this year, compared to their .272 clip off his fastball.

"I know the coaching staff and everybody, they're comfortable with me going out there and throwing as hard as I can, and that usually works," Rosenthal said. "I just wanted to try it out and see if I could do something to make myself better. And it's been good so far."

Medical report

Some news and notes from the training room:

• Adam Wainwright (mid-back tightness) recovered well enough from his bullpen session on Wednesday that the Cardinals have scheduled him to start Sunday's series finale against the Reds. His return will bump Luke Weaver from the rotation.

• Seung Hwan Oh was back at the ballpark on Thursday and was expected to be available out of the Cardinals' bullpen for the series finale vs. the Brewers. Oh was sidelined on Wednesday due to a stomach illness.

• Dexter Fowler (left forearm strain) continues to progress through baseball activities back in St. Louis, general manager Michael Girsch said, and he's likely to join the team in Cincinnati to continue that work.

Worth noting

• When Carson Kelly took the field Thursday morning for extra work behind the plate, he was joined by manager Mike Matheny and veteran Yadier Molina, both of whom offered assistance to the rookie catcher for several minutes.

• The Cardinals selected outfielder Harrison Bader (Triple-A) and right-hander Jordan Baker (Class A Advanced) as the organization's Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for July. Bader hit .314 with six homers, 12 RBIs and 18 runs scored in 21 games. Hicks went 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 25 innings.

• The Cardinals have added four new Theme Nights to the schedule for this season. Those additions include a Country Music Night (Sept. 8), Old School Wrestling Night (Sept. 12), Career Day (Sept. 14) and College Night III (Sept. 26). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.