Maikel Cleto Called to St. Louis

It’s been a busy year for former LumberKings making the Major Leagues with right-handers Josh Lueke (’07-’08) and Tom Wilhelmsen (’10) already making debuts with Seattle (and subsequently returning to the minors) and right-hander Cody Eppley (’08) reaching Arlington, TX with the Rangers so far this season.  Right-hander Maikel Cleto (’09) will join those four soon as he has been called up by the St. Louis Cardinals to help their depleted bullpen.

The hard-throwing Cleto, acquired by the Cardinals in the trade that sent Brendan Ryan to the Mariners this past offseason, is a surprise call-up from double-A Springfield after going 1-1 with a 2.63 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 24 innings.  Cleto has apparently matured since going 0-3 with a 5.33 ERA in eight starts as a LumberKing on the ’09 team, Clinton’s first year as a Mariners’ affiliate.

I’ve dug up my one and only interview with Cleto, coming following his August 20, 2009 outing at Peoria in which he matched up against rehabbing Carlos Zambrano and struck out six over 3.0 scoreless innings.  Former Kings’ catcher Blake Ochoa does the interpreting.

Listen Here:  Maikel Cleto Interview 8.21.09

The Clinton area is pretty pro-Cubs, but there’s more than a few folks in the area that will be pretty excited about Cleto’s call-up, including Director of Ops, Mitch Butz.  Hopefully Cleto sticks and stays with the Cards.

-DL

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