Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trade Caught Mujica by Surprise; Notebook; New Righthander Is Targeted for Seventh-Inning Duty with the Cardinals

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Trade Caught Mujica by Surprise; Notebook; New Righthander Is Targeted for Seventh-Inning Duty with the Cardinals

Article excerpt

DENVER - Even with players on the auction blocks all around him in the Miami Marlins clubhouse, righthanded reliever Edward Mujica said he was surprised to find himself traded to the Cardinals before Tuesday's deadline.

Then he had to explain it to his wife, who was at home with their 21-day-old daughter, Brianna, the couple's first child.

"That's part of the business. I take it like that. But my wife - I don't think she took it like that," Mujica explained. "It's tough leaving. ... For me, I have to think positive right now. I'm here because they want me to be here."

The Cardinals actually have a more specific place in mind than just here for Mujica.

Manager Mike Matheny outlined how Mujica will immediately be used in the seventh inning, that no man's land of relief work for the Cardinals this season. The reorganized bullpen now features three lefties, righty Fernando Salas, set-up man Mitchell Boggs, closer Jason Motte and newcomer Mujica. The righthander mostly pitched in the eighth inning for the Marlins - for a 5.56 ERA in 27 appearances in the eighth - but also has 29 holds in the past two seasons. A hold is the equivalent of a save before the ninth inning.

"Edward is going to jump right into that mix in the seventh inning," Matheny said. "We'll see how it plays out. We're going to need him, need him soon."

Mujica aced his first opportunity, retiring the Rockies in order in the seventh inning Wednesday night.

Matheny said with the extra lefty Marc Rzepczynski will continue to be the late-inning specialist for the job. Rzepczynski has been more effective, Matheny said, since the team "changed its philosophy" with the lefty and focused him on retiring lefthanded hitters. Brian Fuentes will share the seventh with Mujica, and that leaves Barret Browning as the mid-inning lefty specialist.

Mujica, who was acquired in exchange for Class AAA third baseman Zack Cox, is making $1.6 million this season, a deal he signed to avoid arbitration with Miami this past offseason. The Cardinals will maintain his rights for 2013, though he'll have the option to let arbitration set his salary. …

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