8/25/2014 7:25 P.M. ET
Cards recall Lyons for depth, option Garcia
Lefty up from Triple-A Memphis to bolster staff in advance of set at Pittsburgh
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Having asked the bullpen to cover 13 innings in their weekend series against the Phillies, the Cardinals fortified their pitching staff on Monday by adding lefty Tyler Lyons prior to their series opener at PNC Park. St. Louis created space for Lyons on the 25-man roster by optioning infielder Greg Garcia to Double-A Springfield.
Lyons was slated to start for Triple-A Memphis on Monday, meaning he's plenty fresh to provide the Cardinals with innings out of the 'pen if an extended relief appearance is needed. The Cards' other long reliever, Nick Greenwood, threw three innings on Sunday.
Lyons has been with the Cardinals twice before this season and is 0-3 with a 5.46 ERA in seven appearances (four starts). Since being sent down in July, Lyons was 6-1 with a 3.72 ERA, 40 strikeouts and four walks in 46 innings.
"I felt good," Lyons said. "When I first went down, I had a period of getting back into the flow of things. Everything started to feel right, and everything was in place. I've felt good over the past month."
By sending out Garcia, the Cards will enter this series with a four-man bench and an eight-man bullpen. Asked if Lyons could also be a candidate to start a game in the team's doubleheader on Saturday, manager Mike Matheny said, "Right now, we're not moving in that direction."
Garcia had been recalled on Tuesday, marking his second big league stint of the year. Garcia had two at-bats in this most recent callup. By sending him out to Springfield, the Cardinals will not have to wait the normally requisite 10 days to recall him. Garcia will be eligible to return as soon as Springfield ends its season on Sept. 1.
If he had gone to Triple-A and the Memphis club would have advanced to the playoffs, Garcia would have had to have waited until 10 days or until that postseason run ended, whichever came sooner. Springfield will not be playing in the postseason.
Wacha, Yadi making progress in rehab stints
PITTSBURGH -- Indicative of the progress both have recently made, catcher Yadier Molina and right-hander Michael Wacha will relocate to Springfield, Mo., this week to continue their rehab work with St. Louis' Double-A affiliate.
Molina, who is recovering from July 11 surgery on his right thumb, will participate in a full workout -- batting practice, fielding work, throwing, etc. -- on Tuesday. If he passes that test without issue, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Molina could be playing in a Minor League game with Springfield as early as Wednesday.
While it would be seamless to activate Molina from the 15-day disabled list when rosters expand on Sept. 1, the Cardinals have not ruled out an earlier return if Molina passes all necessary medical checkpoints. At the time of his surgery, it was announced that Molina would need 8-to-12 weeks to return. It looks like he'll do better than that timeline, as Friday will mark the end of his seventh week in recovery.
"When we see things medically right and when he feels right also, whether it's throwing or swinging the bat, and the medical staff is behind it, we're ready to figure out what the next step will be," Matheny said.
Wacha's rehab stint is expected to be longer, though an early September return remains a possibility. Wacha is scheduled to throw three simulated innings and live batting practice (approximately 40-45 pitches) to a group of Double-A hitters on Wednesday, Matheny confirmed.
Wacha, who was shut down with a right shoulder stress reaction after his June 17 start, has been throwing off the mound at Busch Stadium every two-to-three days since Aug. 16. He'll need at least one rehab start against Minor League competition before returning to St. Louis. If all goes well on Wednesday, that start could come as early as the weekend.
"It's a great step forward," Matheny said of the progress of both players. "Obviously, we'll see how they both feel after they get an opportunity to get into a game. It's definitely good news."
• With eight games left on its regular-season schedule, Triple-A Memphis was tied with Nashville atop the American Southern division in the Pacific Coast League standings. Memphis earned an 8-0 win on Sunday behind starter Marco Gonzales, who struck out six and allowed three hits in his six-inning start. Xavier Scruggs and Ed Easley hit back-to-back homers, while Pete Kozma finished with three hits, three RBIs and two runs scored.
• Since being optioned to Memphis on Aug. 17, lefty Kevin Siegrist has made three scoreless appearances for the Redbirds. In three innings, Siegrist walked two, struck out four and did not allow a hit.
• Matheny said that the Cardinals still plan to pluck a starter from the Minors for one of the games in Saturday's doubleheader. The Cardinals and Cubs are permitted to add a 26th player to their roster for the twin bill. Matheny said the organization already has "a pretty good idea of how we're going to go."
With Tyler Lyons now on the Major League roster, the only starting pitcher the Cardinals have in the Minors who is already on the team's 40-man roster is Gonzales.
• Matheny indicated that the club intends to have Carlos Martinez pitch in relief the rest of the season unless there is an unexpected development with someone in the rotation.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.