ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Cardinals got help for a needy bullpen on Monday, acquiring right-hander Blaine Boyer from the Atlanta Braves for minor league outfielder Brian Barton.
General manager John Mozeliak said the Cardinals would go with 13 pitchers for at least the next few days, and would demote a position player before beginning a three-game series against the Mets today. St. Louis relievers have averaged more than four innings the first 13 games.
'I don't look at it as a Band-Aid at all,' Mozeliak said. 'We're looking to add depth to an area that needed it.'
Mozeliak said he wasn't sure how long the Cardinals would need an extra pitcher, which will leave them with only four bench players. The most likely cut is rookie third baseman David Freese, batting .158 in 19 at-bats while losing time to Brian Barden and Joe Thurston.
The 27-year-old Boyer was designated for assignment on Saturday when the Braves recalled left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes from Triple-A Gwinnett to start against the Pirates.
Boyer was 0-1 with a 40.50 ERA in three games, allowing six runs in 11/3 innings. He appeared in a career-high 76 games last year with Atlanta while also setting highs in innings (72) and strikeouts (67).
'Our scouting reports were very positive,' Mozeliak said. 'We just thought it had an awful lot of upside for us.'
The Cardinals acquired the 26-year-old Barton in the Rule 5 Draft in 2007. He batted .268 with two home runs and 13 RBIs last year as a rookie and was hitting .107 with one RBI at Triple-A Memphis.
Barton, who will join the Gwinnett Braves, had little chance of contributing in 2009 due to the Cardinals' crowded outfield.
'He had a pretty good year for us last year but the reality is our offense is stacked up right now. It just is going to be tough for him to get major league at-bats,' Mozeliak said. 'In fairness to him, this is a better opportunity.'
Atlanta's McCann to meet eye doctor today
WASHINGTON - Braves catcher Brian McCann is to meet with an eye doctor today about the blurred vision that has kept him out of the starting lineup.
He is in a 1-for-20 slump.
McCann sat out Atlanta's game Sunday at the Pirates and was not listed in the starting lineup Monday against the Nationals.
'He can't start. He can come into a game and help you, but right now we don't want to start him,' Braves manager Bobby Cox said Monday.
Cox said McCann is 'day-to-day, but it's been dragging on.'
In other Braves injury news, outfielder Garret Anderson was unavailable Monday after leaving Sunday's game with tightness in his left quadriceps.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar, meanwhile, was listed in Monday's lineup after having not played since Thursday because of a strained abdominal muscle. Escobar said he was only '85 percent.'
SideBar: Braves at Nationals
· Today, 7:05 p.m. (SS)
· Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. (SS)