PITTSBURGH -- A trio of rookie starting pitchers -- Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons and Carlos Martinez -- are slated to rejoin the big league club Tuesday, the day after the Minor League regular season ends. Which of the three will start for the Cardinals that day is yet to be determined.
Manager Mike Matheny said that all three pitchers remain in consideration as the Cardinals figure out how to fill the fifth hole in their rotation. And all three are using short stints in the Minors to stay ready in case the call comes.
Martinez made a seven-inning start for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday, during which he held New Orleans to one earned run on five hits and a walk. Martinez struck out nine while throwing 65 of his 91 pitches for strikes. With Memphis in the hunt for a playoff berth, the Cardinals transferred Martinez to the Double-A roster after the game since the 21-year-old right-hander would not be able to pitch again before the end of the Minor League season.
To stay on a starting schedule, Martinez will throw a bullpen session with Springfield on Saturday. Wacha, who was optioned to Double-A after having to extend himself for 65 pitches in relief Wednesday, will throw on the side, as well.
As for Lyons, Matheny said the left-hander was expected to throw a few innings in relief for Memphis on Friday. That keeps him open as an option for Tuesday, too.
The Cardinals have two more off-days in their September schedule and can use those to skip the rotation's fifth spot again if they would like. Whether the Cardinals patchwork that spot or find a month-long fit will depend upon whether one of the three rookies can seize the opportunity.
"I think anybody would like for an opportunity to be given to a player and they jump in it and force your hand that that's the one you need to have," Matheny said. "But we'll see what we've got. We'll run somebody out there on the third [of September]. We have a great opportunity -- we're playing Cincinnati -- for someone to take advantage of it."
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.