(BaseballStL) — The Cardinals opened Monday with a roster move, sending Marco Gonzales down to AAA Memphis and recalling Tyler Lyons.
With Gonzales slated to start Friday in Milwaukee, the maneuver left a question mark as to who would get the ball in the opener with the division-best Brewers.
Lyons had poor results as a starter for the Cardinals this season going 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA in four starts. Joe Kelly, coming back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for more than two months, seems to be the likely candidate.
When asked about Lyons’ role, Mike Matheny said the lefty is, “just another arm for us in the pen. We were limping yesterday through our pitching, and Tyler can help get us through that.”
Kelly completed his third rehab start Sunday, going 4.1 innings, surrendering three hits, a run and striking out three. Though John Mozeliak said no official decision had been made on who will start Friday, Matheny seemed to be leaning toward Kelly.
“We’re moving forward in possibly that direction,” he said, going over Kelly’s recent start. “Command looked good, he felt good, the hamstring doesn’t even seem to be an issue with him right now. It’s not something he’s even thinking about.”
He said Lyons is still an option, but said the club will use him as needed out of the bullpen and won’t try to save him for a start.
Kelly was 1-1 with a 0.59 ERA in three games before injuring his hamstring.
Gonzales heads to Memphis having made three starts for St. Louis. His 0-2 record and 7.07 ERA don’t paint the most accurate picture, as he had innings of great work, but he clearly was not ready to be a full-time member of the rotation.
Matheny praised Gonzales’ first run at major league hitters, but said more than anything, the young lefty learned what he needs to last.
“It was a great learning experience. Any time guys get here it can be just priceless. For him to see how these hitters reacted to his stuff,” he said. “We talked about his need for a couple other pitchers and to fine tune a couple extra things to keep guys off his main strike pitches. He saw first hand he has to do something different and I think that’s a great tool for him moving forward.”
Kelly is expected to be back with the Cardinals this week. If named starter, he would be matched by Yovanni Gallardo for the Brewers.