ST. LOUIS (AP) -St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Russ Springer was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with nerve irritation in his elbow, a night after he allowed hits by all three batters he faced.
The 39-year-old reliever said he didn't believe it was a serious injury, that the elbow would calm down and he'd return to full duty. Team medical personnel ordered about a week of rest given that Springer said ice irritates the nerve and heat further inflames it.
``I don't think it's going to be anything longterm,'' Springer said. ``I definitely have to let it calm down because right now I'm going out there one hand tied behind my back, it seems like.''
Springer has been a key late-inning cog in the bullpen along with closer Jason Isringhausen and setup man Ryan Franklin, going 8-1 with a 2.18 ERA in 76 games last season. The Cardinals recalled right-hander Kelvin Jimenez from Triple-A Memphis.
``He's one of our horses, he's one of the guys you plan around to get outs late, so you can't diminish his importance,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``Kelvin was a tough cut, so he'll come up and we're going to be all right.''
The 27-year-old Jimenez lost the final bullpen job when the Cardinals decided to keep Anthony Reyes, 2-14 as a starter last year, and try him in long relief.
Springer said the nerve was moved in an elbow operation in 2003. He said cool weather since the team left spring training has worked against him, first feeling a tingling sensation quickly followed by weakness in the index and middle fingers, the hand, forearm and wrist while the team was in Springfield, Mo., last weekend for a pair of exhibitions.
In his last outing, Springer said the tingling sensation was already there when he jogged from the bullpen to the mound. When he awoke on Saturday with that sensation, he knew going on the DL was the right move.
Springer said the injury has caused him to lose a little bit on his fastball.
``The last few games, I've been out there throwing 87 mph and I threw that when I was 14,'' Springer said. ``I don't know how to pitch that way, so it's time to let it calm down and then come back full strength for the rest of the year.''
Springer appeared in three of the Cardinals' first four games. He didn't allow a run in his first two appearances, but was charged with three runs Friday and has an ERA of 13.50 overall, giving up three runs on five hits.
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