The Cardinals announced this afternoon that they’ve placed third baseman Jhonny Peralta back on the 15-day disabled list with a strained ligament in his left thumb. In corresponding moves, the team has recalled outfielder Jeremy Hazelbaker. Additionally, right-hander Miguel Socolovich has been recalled from Triple-A, and catcher Michael McKenry has been designated for assignment.
[Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals Depth Chart]
Word of Peralta’s injury is obviously a concern for the Cards, as surgery to repair a ligament in Peralta’s left thumb cost him the first two-plus months of the 2016 season. In his absence, Aledmys Diaz solidified himself as the everyday shortstop in St. Louis, prompting Peralta to shift to the hot corner and Matt Carpenter to displace the struggling Kolten Wong from the everyday role at second base. While Peralta initially hit well upon activation from the DL, he’s struggled considerably in his past 22 games, hitting just .185/.212/.383. While that’s a highly arbitrary endpoint, he’s hardly the first player to struggle in a return from hand surgery. The Cardinals’ press release did not give an indication as to when Peralta might be able to return to the lineup.
McKenry appeared in just three games with the Cards, collecting two plate appearances (one strikeout, one sacrifice bunt). He’s a veteran of six prior Major League seasons and has compiled a career .238/.318/.406 batting line with 29 homers in 953 plate appearances between the Rockies, Pirates and his ever-so-brief stay with the Cards. He becomes the second veteran backstop to find himself displaced from St. Louis this year, as the Cards also had to designate Eric Fryer for assignment recently in order to pave way for the return of fellow backstop Brayan Pena.
Hazelbaker, of course, began the season as one of the hottest hitters in baseball and drew quite a bit of fanfare from the media for his Herculean April (.317/.357/.683). However, as is often the case with early-season success stories, regression set in, and Hazelbaker ultimately was optioned to Triple-A after slashing .180/.206/.279 from May 1 through June 15. Socolovich, 29, returns to St. Louis for a second stint after spending much of the 2015 campaign in their bullpen and working to a pristine 1.82 ERA with a 27-to-10 K/BB ratio in 29 2/3 innings of work.