ST. LOUIS – Only hours away from the start of postseason, the St. Louis Cardinals complete a series of transactions to help build their roster for the Wild Card round.

The Cardinals activated pitchers Jordan Hicks and Matthew Liberatore ahead of Wednesday’s regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In corresponding moves, the Cardinals optioned pitchers Dakota Hudson and JoJo Romero to the AAA-Memphis Redbirds.

By activating Hicks and Liberatore, the Cardinals have flexibility to add either to the 2022 postseason roster. Any player who the Cardinals roster at the Major League level by the end of the regular season is eligible to play in postseason.

Hudson and Romero will not be eligible for at least the Wild Card series after being optioned. Based on MLB’s transactions rules, when a pitcher is optioned to the minors, they cannot be recalled to the MLB level for at least 15 unless another player is placed on the injured list and the previously-optioned pitcher takes his place.

By that nature, Hudson and Romero could not crack the postseason roster until the NLCS at earliest, unless the Cardinals place a pitcher on the injured list in a postseason series.

Hudson and Romero were roughed up in recent games prior to their options. Hudson allowed seven runs over 2.2 innings in Tuesday’s start against Pittsburgh. He labored through the game with 67 pitches and 11 base runners, though St. Louis came back to win 8-7. Romero pitched in three consecutive games in as many days without allowing a run, though he was tagged for three runs in less than an inning in a Cardinals’ loss to then-postseason-hopeful Milwaukee last week.

Hicks would be a logical choice to claim at least one postseason spot. Liberatore would be eligible, but could be left off the roster for the Wild Card round due to his limited experience and the fact he is planned to pitch multiple innings Wednesday in Game 162.

The St. Louis Cardinals are expected to finalize their Wild Card series roster no later than early Friday morning. The postseason roster can include up to 26 players and 13 pitchers.