Luke Voit was on the field at Busch Stadium for batting practice before Sunday night's game after he was promoted to the Cardinals from Memphis. 

By Rob Rains

It was the news thousands of kids across the St. Louis area dream of hearing one day – and for Luke Voit it was not a dream.

Voit was in the visiting manager’s office in Omaha on Saturday night when Stubby Clapp told him he was heading home, to St. Louis, to join the Cardinals.

“I’ve been waiting for an opportunity for a long time,” Voit said. “I’ve been shaking since last night. I’m just so happy to be here, I’m at a loss for words. It’s crazy.”

A product of Lafayette High School and Missouri State University, Voit has been progressing through the Cardinals’ farm system since he was a 22nd round draft pick in 2013, playing in 473 games, hoping one day to earn the promotion to the Cardinals that finally came on Sunday.

He was back on the field at Busch Stadium, taking batting practice before the game against the Pirates. It was the first time he had been on the field since a pre-draft workout four years ago.

“The thoughts going through my head are unbelievable,” Voit said.

Voit, who served as the batboy for Lafayette when Ryan Howard played there, grew up imitating Mark McGwre when he played in his backyard as a youngster. He attended games at Busch as often as possible, when he wasn’t playing.

The last time he was at Busch was for a 2014 playoff game, sitting in the stands, still dreaming about one day being on the field.

Voit’s promotion was one of a series of roster moves made by the Cardinals. They also brought Randal Grichuk and pitcher Mike Mayers back from Memphis, optioned Chad Huffman back to the Triple A club and placed Dexter Fowler and Kevin Siegrist on the disabled list.

General Manager John Mozeliak said Fowler aggravated an injury to his right heel on Saturday night, an injury he has been dealing with basically all season, one which Mozeliak said likely has been a contributing factor to his other leg injuries this season.

Mozeliak said Fowler told the team’s trainers after Saturday night’s game that “I don’t have a leg to stand on.” He is scheduled to undergo a series of medical tests on Monday.

Siegrist left tbe ballpark on Sunday afternoon to being undergoing his own medical exams for what was described as a cervical spine sprain. Mozeliak said the injury was to Siegrist’s neck. 

All of the particulars that led to Voit’s promotion didn’t really matter to the 26-year-old, who became the 19th St. Louis area product since 1957 to make his major-league debut with the Cardinals when he pinch-hit in the seventh inning, getting hit by a pitch. .

The last hometown player to debut with the Cardinals also was at Busch Stadium on Sunday night. David Freese, now with the Pirates and also a Lafayette High graduate, made his debut on April 6, 2009.

Voit is only the sixth player on that list whose first game came at home, joining Freese, Kyle McClellan (2008), Bernard Gilkey (1996) and Mike Shannon (1962).

Voit played in 70 games this season for Mempis, posting a .322 average to go with 12 homers and 48 RBIs. Last year at Double A Springfield, Voit won the Texas League batting title with a .297 average while hitting 19 homers and driving in 74 runs in 134 games.

One of Voit’s first phone calls after getting the news was to Paul DeJong, a former college opponent who became his roommate on the road last year in Springfield and again this year in Memphis before DeJong came to the majors.

“When I played against him in college I never expected to become roommates with him,” DeJong said. ‘He had this long hair back then and I thought, ‘Who is this monster?’ Baseball is one of those small worlds, you never know who you are going to end up with.

“I told him to try to get some sleep and he said, ‘no chance.’ I didn’t get much either (when he was promoted). I’m really excited for him. He deserves it. And with his hometown team? I’m happy to be able to share it with him.”

Both Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny, who first met Voit when he was in high school and also knew him in college when he played with Matheny’s son, Tate, were excited for Voit.

‘I’m thrilled for him, plus he’s from St. Louis,” Mozeliak said. “It’s a nice story. But take nothing away from the story, he earned it.”

Added Matheny, “He’s one of those players who wasn’t a high pick and just kept grinding. I know it’s a big day for him and his family. We see guys come in and I hope we don’t allow ourselves to forget that first day. He’s worked hard and forced people to watch him.”

Voit is expected to be used primarily as a pinch-hitter but could occasionally spell Matt Carpenter at first base, which is basically his only position.

“Clearly when you look at his career path he’s always been one of those types of hitters that everywhere he’s been he’s ended up having success,” Mozeliak said. “We felt he deserved the right to come up here and see what he can do.”

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains