Cards send Lyons to Minor League camp

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Having determined that Tyler Lyons will be more valuable in the immediate as a potential step-in starter than reliever in the big league bullpen, the Cardinals optioned the left-hander to Triple-A on Wednesday. With the move, the Cardinals now have 40 players remaining in Major League Spring Training.

Though Lyons was initially named as one of the pitchers competing for a rotation spot, it became clear early in Grapefruit League play that the Cardinals were auditioning him for a bullpen role. He would have offered the Cardinals length out of the ‘pen, but Lyons didn’t exactly do much to standout for the positive this spring.

He gave up 13 earned runs in eight innings and struggled with his command. By sending Lyons to Minor League camp now, there is still plenty of time for him to get stretched out so he is ready to open the season in Memphis’ rotation. He did not pitch more than two innings in any of his six spring appearances.

The Cardinals need to have Major League-ready starting depth in Triple-A, too, because of their plans to move one of their starters into a bullpen role to start the season. Whichever of the six remaining starters in camp does not land in the rotation is poised to “play a big role in our bullpen,” Matheny said. That’s expected to be either Joe Kelly or Carlos Martinez.

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