(BaseballStL) — With Tyler Lyons heading to the DL Tuesday and Joe Kelly still an undetermined amount of time away from even pitching much less returning to game action, the move for a fifth starter has begun.
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Speaking at Busch Stadium Tuesday afternoon, General Manager John Mozeliak began naming possible replacements, the most expected of which would be Jaime Garcia.
“We have to make a decision by Saturday,” Mozeliak said. “I want to know exactly how he (Garcia) feels. It’s going to be how he feels from a physical standpoint. I am encouraged and it’s certainly a possibility.”
After a successful outing Sunday in which he went five innings on 74 pitches, allowing two runs on three hits (one of which was a home run), Garcia would be set to throw a bullpen session Wednesday.
Mozeliak said they will decide shortly whether he throws that session in St. Louis or in Memphis, but he plans to talk to Garcia about how he feels following his start and decide from there.
Other candidates included minor leaguers Tim Cooney and Zach Petrick, both of whom are starters in Memphis. (We covered Petrick’s remarkable rise here)
Petrick was being held just in case but did end up throwing Tuesday, making his selection less likely.
Cooney is 4-2 in eight starts with a 2.93 ERA, and Petrick is 2-1 in his four starts, posting 4.18 ERA and 1.1 WHIP.
While Garcia seems to be on the precipice of returning to Major League action, Jason Motte is still a few steps from the finish line.
His appearance Tuesday in Memphis was promising, throwing a scoreless inning to close out the game and allowing one hit.
He reached between 91-95 miles per hour, a few clicks down from where he was pre-surgery. While he’s close to making a return, Mozeliak said the team is still considering another step or two for the former closer.
“One thing we may consider to do with him has have him try to do two innings,” the GM said. “We’ll see how he responds after today and put that on the table for the next outing.”
Mozeliak added that he wasn’t in a place of confidence to predict a timetable for Motte’s return, saying he’s day-to-day on those discussions.
Kolten Wong went down to Memphis to work out some trouble with his swing, and he seems to have chased the demons right out of town.
His 4-for-5 day Tuesday netted him his second homer and raised his average to .344 in AAA. Since he was sent down, he has only two games in which he went hitless, and has six multi-hit games.
“I think he’s checking a lot of boxes right now,” Mozeliak said. “I do think from a performance standpoint he’s someone that has done exactly what we hoped he would do, and from a defensive standpoint I’ve heard nothing but positives so we may make a decision on that in the near future as well.”
Oscar Taveras continues to work on his skills in center field, but those hoping for a call up in the near future may be wasting their wishes. All signs point to Taveras continuing his progression with regular playing time in Memphis, as he has a good ways to go before he’s considered big-league ready in the field.
“I think we need to be realistic with our expectations of what he’s going to be as a center fielder, but just having him continue to work on it helps,” Mozeliak said.