ST. LOUIS (AP) -Anthony Reyes was demoted to the minor leagues by the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday after sputtering in a relief role with a 5.27 ERA.
The 26-year-old Reyes, once considered the team's top pitching prospect, will be a starter for Triple-A Memphis. But manager Tony La Russa believes the infrequency of Reyes' outings has more to do with his struggles than comfort level or a lack of enthusiasm for the bullpen life.
"He took to it fine, he just hasn't pitched enough to where we've been able to keep him really sharp," La Russa said. "I think it's good for him to go down and work regularly."
A secondary reason for the move was uncertainty surrounding Joel Pineiro, who's scheduled to start on Monday at Colorado. Pineiro reported back stiffness since his last outing.
Right-hander Mike Parisi, 25, who was recalled from Memphis and in uniform Sunday night for the final game of a three-game series against the Cubs, would be the backup option for that start if Pineiro can't go. Parisi was the opening-day starter for Memphis and is 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA after elevating his standing with a strong spring training.
Not much has gone right for Reyes since he beat the Tigers in the 2006 World Series opener. He was 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA last year and lost out for rotation spot in spring training after making five starts in Florida, opening the year as a long man in the bullpen.
Reyes has been a starter throughout his career, making two relief appearances last season and three in 2006 when he first came up. He has a 1-1 record and allowed in three straight outings, surrendering six runs on 10 hits in seven innings, before working two scoreless innings on Saturday.
Reyes made three appearances in the last 11 days, totaling four innings.
La Russa said Reyes, who had already left for Memphis, didn't have much to say when told he was going back to the minors.
"He certainly wasn't happy," La Russa said. "He shouldn't be happy. Not much you can say when it comes down to it."
Parisi struggled in his last start on April 29, giving up seven runs on 10 hits in four innings. He had been scheduled to start in a doubleheader for Memphis on Sunday, and was surprised to get the news last night.
He also impressed the team enough that they used him in two simulated starts while getting Kyle Lohse up to speed after signing a free-agent deal in mid-March, then used him in two regular spring games.
"I've had some good starts," Parisi said. "My last one wasn't too good, but overall I'm happy."