Cards tab rookie Lyons to start Wednesday

ST. LOUIS -- Manager Mike Matheny announced on Sunday that the Cardinals will have left-hander Tyler Lyons start against the Padres on Wednesday in place of Jaime Garcia, who has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury.

Lyons will join the team in San Diego in advance of the start but will not be added to the 40- and 25-man rosters until Wednesday. That will allow the Cardinals to utilize an eight-man bullpen before sending a reliever down to Triple-A.

The Cardinals' decision to tab Lyons as Garcia's replacement was based upon a variety of factors. The timing was ideal given that Lyons' next scheduled start for Memphis was to be on Wednesday. Also, the Cardinals did not feel that any of the pitchers in their bullpen with extensive starting experience -- Carlos Martinez, Seth Maness and Joe Kelly -- would have the arm strength necessary to pitch deep into a game this soon.

"Not having them built up definitely takes away from them being viable options," Matheny said. "Being able to get them back to that point whether through extended innings here or anything else we need to do is still an option for us. But as far as getting somebody there in the next four days is pretty tough."

When the Cardinals choose who to unplug from the bullpen to open a roster spot for Lyons, they'll likely consider sending someone down who can begin building back up as a starter. That will give the club more flexibility in finding help as the season progresses.

Lyons, who was a participant in big league camp this spring, has a 4.47 ERA in eight Triple-A starts this season. He has struck out 38 and walked nine in 46 1/3 innings.

The Cardinals considered pitching prospect Michael Wacha as a possibility for the spot start, too, before settling on Lyons. The club made its decision focused on finding a short-term fill-in rather than long-term help. With Jake Westbrook moving closer to returning to the rotation, the Cardinals may only need a placeholder in the rotation for one or two starts. Chris Carpenter could also be in the picture within a few weeks.

Lyons will become the third rookie starter, joining Shelby Miller and John Gast, in the Cardinals' rotation when he arrives.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.