The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals SAN DIEGO -- Calling it a "good solution all the way around," St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak added a second starting pitcher in as many days Thursday, acquiring right-hander John Lackey from the Boston Red Sox.

A day earlier, the Cardinals obtained right-hander Justin Masterson from the Cleveland Indians.

"We didn't match up on Lackey until we got Masterson without giving up a pitcher," Mozeliak said.

To get the 35-year-old Lackey, minor league left-hander Corey Littrell and cash considerations from the Red Sox, the Cardinals had to part with right-hander Joe Kelly (who lost Wednesday night's game against the San Diego Padres) and outfielder Allen Craig.

Craig, 30, who hit .315 with 13 homers and 97 RBIs for the Cardinals last season, was batting only .237 this year with seven homers and 44 RBIs in 367 at-bats. His departure could be a blessing for the Cardinals in that it opens the door to more playing time for 22-year-old Oscar Taveras.

The left-handed-hitting Taveras, considered the Cardinals' top young prospect, hit a two-run homer Thursday afternoon against the Padres. He is batting .210 with two homers and eight RBIs in his first 100 major league at-bats.

"We were trying to play both Craig and Taveras," Mozeliak said before the Cardinals' 6-2 win over the Padres on Thursday.

In Lackey, the Cardinals got a top-of-the-rotation starter who likely will make his Cardinals debut against his former teammates when Boston visits the Cardinals for an interleague series early next week.

"Our third, fourth and fifth starters have been having trouble getting deep into games," Mozeliak said. "To get what we needed, we had to go down this path."

Lackey was 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA for the Red Sox this season. He has a career record of 149-114 with a 4.02 ERA with the Angels (2002-2009) and Red Sox (2010-2104). The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Lackey is also 6-5 with a 3.03 record in 19 postseason appearances.

"Lackey is a top-of-the-rotation starter," said Mozeliak, who a day earlier gave up former first-round pick outfielder James Ramsey (23rd overall in 2012) to land Masterson.

----------------------------------------------- MLB Team Report - St. Louis Cardinals RECORD: 57-50

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Brewers (RHP Wily Peralta, 12-6, 3.56 ERA) at Cardinals RHP Adam Wainwright, 13-5, 1.92 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RHP John Lackey's first start for the Cardinals will come against his former team when the Cardinals host the Red Sox in an interleague series at Busch Stadium next Tuesday through Thursday. The Cardinals acquired Lackey, minor league LHP Corey Littrell and cash Thursday for OF Allen Craig and RHP Joe Kelly. Lackey was 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season.

--LHP Corey Littrell was acquired by the Cardinals along with RHP John Lackey and cash Thursday in a deal that sent OF Allen Craig and RHP Joe Kelly to the Red Sox. Littrell, 22, was 5-5 with a 3.60 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for high Class A Salem this season.

--OF Allen Craig was dealt to the Red Sox along with RHP Joe Kelly in a trade that sent RHP John Lackey, minor league LHP Corey Littrell and cash to the Cardinals. Craig, 30, was a disappointment for the Cardinals this season after being a leader of the offense each of the past two seasons. Craig was hitting .237 this year with seven homers and 44 RBIs in 367 at-bats. He hit .315 with 13 homers and 97 RBIs in 134 games in 2013 after batting .307 with 22 homers and 92 RBIs in 119 games in 2012.