MILWAUKEE -- Carlos Martinez, the No. 3 prospect in the Cardinals system, said he was surprised to be joining the big league team and cried when he was given the news.
"He's excited about the opportunity, and can learn about what it's like to be up here and hopefully go out and make his pitches," catcher Tony Cruz said in translating comments in Spanish from Martinez during an interview session before the team played the Brewers.
Martinez had trouble securing a visa to enter the United States from the Dominican Republic, and he missed all of Spring Training. He did pitch in the Dominican during March, and he was 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in three starts at Double-A Springfield.
"He's an electric arm," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "We feel like we need that inserted right now into our bullpen."
The Cardinals bullpen had a 5.90 ERA entering Friday's game, last in the Major Leagues. Mozeliak compared the arrival of Martinez to that of Trevor Rosenthal last year.
"The difference is Martinez didn't get a Spring Training to open up the eyes of the staff, but I can assure you that some of us who focus more on our Minor Leagues than others know what he is capable of doing," he said.
Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny said Martinez would benefit greatly from catcher Yadier Molina's experience.
"He's been throwing the ball extremely well," Matheny said. "He comes into a unique situation. With Yadi behind the plate, he can just go out and pitch and not have to be the guy doing all the analytics. But right now, it's his time. I think he's ready for it."
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.