St. Louis Cardinals lefthanded pitcher Tyler Lyons is continuing to make progress in his recovery from a left shoulder strain that has sidelined him since late May. He’ll take the next step in that recovery on Monday night by making a rehab start for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals.
The 26-year-old Lyons has made six appearances for the Cardinals this year, going 0-3 with a a 6.12 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Since his injury, the Cardinals have restored their starting rotation to full health with the return of Jaime Garcia, and the bullpen has stabilized with the improvement of righthander Seth Maness and the emergence of lefty Sam Freeman. Therefore, it seems likely that Lyons will return to Triple-A Memphis following his rehab, where he will rejoin the starting rotation.
The only scenario, barring another injury, which could keep Lyons at the major-league level is one where reliever Carlos Martinez would head back to Memphis to work out his issues and build stamina for a possible future starting role. However, Martinez has performed better since being moved out of high-pressure situations and into more of a long relief role. He’s allowed only two hits and one earned run over 5.1 innings in June, and he has dropped his ERA from a 4.82 to a 4.32 since a disastrous outing on May 29. While it seemed very possible that Martinez could be sent down to reset himself just a few days ago, it now seems more likely that he’ll be allowed to work out his problems in the majors, at least until injured righthander Joe Kelly returns.
Despite the fact that Lyons is probably going to end up going back to the minors, it is advantageous to keep Lyons on a big-league rehab assignment for a while. Because players on rehab assignments don’t count towards minor league roster limits, the Cardinals don’t have to subtract another minor-leaguer to accomodate Lyons. With Lyons still building up his pitch count again after a layoff, he could end up taxing a minor-league pitching staff if placed on the active roster. This way, the Cardinals can ensure that Lyons is healthy before making him a full-fledged member of Memphis’s staff.