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.
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.Less