With today’s MLB allowance for roster expansion, the St. Louis Cardinals have announced the promotion of five players to their 25-man roster: pitcher Sandy Alcantara, outfielder Harrison Bader, pitcher Jack Flaherty, infielder Alex Mejia, and catcher Alberto Rosario.

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Previously announced as tonight’s starting pitcher, Flaherty was 14-4 with a 2.18 ERA over 25 starts between Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA) this season.  He struck out 147 batters in 148.2 innings. Flaherty is the first pitcher since Rick Ankiel (’99) to lead all Cardinals minor league pitchers in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.

Also set to make his big league debut is Alcantara, who was 7-5 with 4.31 ERA in 25 games (22 starts) for Springfield. He was recently moved to the bullpen after Trevor Rosenthal was lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.

“It was a strategic move,” acknowledged John Mozeliak, St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations. “Just wanted to give him the opportunity to adjust to that because obviously it’s a little different than starting a game.”

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A hard-throwing, 21-year old, right-hander, Alcantara struck out 106 batters this season, but he also allowed 125 hits in 125.1 innings.

“The biggest thing for me wasn’t so much command as having the ability to have deception,” said Mozeliak. “When you have someone who throws 101mph, it does seem a little odd when they get squared up–especially at Double-A. So that was the biggest thing we wanted to try and have him do, was add a little deception to his delivery in hopes for better results.”

Both Bader and Mejia made the ML debuts earlier this season with the Cardinals. Starting in centerfield, Bader hit .286 (6-for-21) in six games with St. Louis the end of July. He hit 20 HRs, 55 RBIs and 15 SBs in 123 games at Memphis this season.

Mejia had three hits in the 10 games he appeared in with the Cardinals the end of June. He has played all four infield positions this year at Memphis, where he was errorless in 25 games at shortstop and 16 at second base.

Rosario made his MLB debut with the Cardinals last July and has appeared in 20 games. To add Rosario to the 40-man roster, the Cardinals outrighted pitcher Sean Gilmartin.

photo credit: Jasen Vinlove, Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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