ST. LOUIS -- Marco Gonzales' first stint in the Majors came to an end on Monday, when the Cardinals optioned him to Triple-A to add depth to a bullpen in need of bolstering.
Gonzales, 22, was abruptly called up from Double-A on June 25 after the Cardinals placed Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia on the disabled list. He made three starts, most recently on Sunday, when he allowed one run in 4 2/3 innings despite surrendering seven hits and five walks.
"We needed him to pitch. He came out and did a real nice job," manager Mike Matheny said. "I think it was a great learning experience -- any time guys get here, it can be priceless. But [it was also good] for him to see how these hitters reacted to his stuff."
Gonzales -- a first-round selection in 2013 -- had only reached Double-A when the Cardinals added him to the roster, and so will be making his first stop in Triple-A upon arrival in Memphis.
He allowed 11 runs while walking 11 in 14 innings over his three starts, posting a 7.07 ERA. The Cardinals advised him to add pitches (curve and cutter) while continuing to improve his primary ones (fastball and changeup).
"We talked about his need for a couple other pitches and to fine-tune a couple extra things to keep guys off his main strike pitches," manager Mike Matheny said. "He saw firsthand that he has to do something different, and I think that's a great tool for him moving forward."
To fill Gonzales' spot on the roster, the Cardinals recalled left-hander Tyler Lyons from Triple-A. Lyons last pitched in the Majors on May 12 before a strained left shoulder sent him to the disabled list.
Lyons made two rehab starts -- one in Double-A and one in Triple-A -- before being optioned on June 19 to Triple-A, where he made three more starts. In five starts in the Minors since going on the DL, he has a 7.36 ERA, allowing 15 runs in 18 1/3 innings.
Although four of his six appearances for the Cardinals this season have been starts, his current role will be out of the bullpen after relievers pitched eight of 18 innings the last two games.
"We took a real strong shot at it Saturday and ended up using a lot of arms to take that one home," Matheny said. "It put us real short. We were limping yesterday with our pitching. Fortunately, they got us through it, and now Tyler can help reinforce that."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Alex Halsted is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less