Winless Reyes sent to Memphis

Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Anthony Reyes pitched against the New York Mets on Wednesday during his last outing. St. Louis lost the game 2-0 as Reyes fell to 0-10 on the season. (JULIE JACOBSON ~ Associated Press)

The 0-10 pitcher was sent down to make room for the return of Braden Looper.

ST. LOUIS -- Anthony Reyes, a World Series star last fall for the St. Louis Cardinals, is headed back to the minor leagues again.

Reyes, who has lost 12 straight regular-season decisions to tie a franchise record that's more than a century old, was demoted to Class AAA Memphis for the second time in less than a month Monday to make room for Braden Looper in the rotation. Considering he's 0-10 with a 6.40 ERA in 12 starts, he arrived at Busch Stadium anticipating the move.

"I don't like packing, that's the worst part for me," Reyes said. "It is what it is. I can't do anything about it besides pitch, so that's what I'm going to do."

The Cardinals' rotation up to the All-Star break also excludes struggling Kip Wells, who'll stay in the bullpen. Wells, 3-11 with a 6.30 ERA, had his role clarified in a meeting with manager Tony La Russa several hours before Monday night's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Reyes' losing streak, interrupted improbably by a dominating start against the Detroit Tigers in winning the World Series opener last fall, matches Bill Kissinger's franchise record set from 1896 to 1997. La Russa emphasized the team is nowhere close to giving up on the 25-year-old right-hander, but just wants him to work out his difficulties.

"When he goes down there and pitches well it's like money in the bank," La Russa said. "You look at the young pitchers that come up before they're supposed to and try to learn on the fly, it's hard."

The Cardinals have totaled 29 runs in his starts, and only 14 while he was on the mound. Reyes hasn't won a regular-season game since last Sept. 6, a stretch of futility that was wearing down the young player.

"The thing that complicates all of this is he hasn't won a game," La Russa said. "There is a possibility that had he won some of those games, then his progress in the big leagues would have gone faster."

La Russa expects Reyes, who allowed two runs in five innings in a rain-shortened loss at New York on Wednesday, to start "soon" at Memphis. The team does not anticipate recalling Reyes before September, when rosters can be expanded.

"His ceiling is very high and he's on an uptick," La Russa said. "But he's got to go back and go to work."

Reyes pitched well the first time he was demoted, allowing four earned runs in 22 innings over three starts at Memphis.

"I've always thought I can get through anything, whether I'm having a bad season or not," Reyes said. "I've always been a day-to-day person. I don't think it's too tough to go back."

Looper was activated from the 15-day disabled list from a right shoulder strain. He was 6-6 with a 4.66 ERA in his first year as a starter before being disabled June 16.

La Russa said Wells was confused about his status given that he returned to the rotation last Sunday after missing one start. Wells pitched two innings of scoreless relief Saturday night in Cincinnati, his second appearance out of the bullpen.

"I had assumed that he knew we were going back to taking this period of time in the bullpen to get a different look and work on some stuff," La Russa said. "When he got that one start I took it for granted that he knew what we were doing.

"Most of the mistakes I've made were taking things for granted."

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