CHICAGO, Ill., July 21, 2017 – The St. Louis Cardinals announce that following Thursday afternoon’s game in New York, right-handed pitcher Sam Tuivailala (too-ee-vai-lull-lah) was optioned to Memphis (AAA) and outfielder Magneuris (Mag-NARE-ees) Sierra was optioned to Springfield (AA).
Prior to today’s game, the Cardinals designated for assignment veteran catcher Eric Fryer. In addition, the Cardinals recalled catcher Carson Kelly from Memphis, activated outfielder Randal Grichuk from the 10-day disabled list and activated left-handed relief pitcher Zach Duke from the 60-day disabled list. Duke will take Fryer’s spot on the 40-man roster.
Kelly, who just turned 23 on July 14, was the starting catcher on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team this season. In 83 games at Memphis, Kelly was batting .283 with 10 home runs and 41 RBI. The rookie made his Major League debut in 2016 and appeared in 10 games batting .154 (2-13) with an RBI. Kelly won the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove award for the “Best Defensive Catcher” in all of Minor League Baseball. At the time of his promotion this season, Kelly led the PCL in total chances (597) and put outs (559), while ranking 5th in runners caught stealing (26.7%, 12 CS-45 SB ATT).
Grichuk, 26, was activated off the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 10 after a lower back injury placed him on the list during the All-Star Break. The outfielder played a rehab game with Springfield on Wednesday and was 1-for-4 with a three-run home run. Grichuk is batting .215 with nine home runs and 30 RBI in 61 games this season in St. Louis.
Duke, 34, underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2016 off-season and missed all of Spring Training and the first three months of the 2017 season. The southpaw made nine rehab appearances between the rookie league Gulf Coast Cardinals, Palm Beach (A) and Memphis (AAA). He threw nine scoreless innings allowing just four hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts. Duke appeared in 81 games during the 2016 season making 53 appearances with the White Sox before he was traded to the Cardinals and made 28 appearances with the Cardinals to finish the season.
Tuivailala was 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in 18 appearances covering 21.0 innings with 18 strikeouts. Sierra hit .350 (7-20) in five games during this recent road trip posting two three-hit games and was batting .365 (19-52) on the 2017 season in 13 games. Fryer, 31, batted .154 over 33 games this season serving as Yadier Molina’s backup.
Kelly will wear No. 30.