Marco Gonzales to return from AAA disabled list Saturday

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Tim Cooney got the first shot at replacing Adam Wainwright (heel) in the Cardinals’ starting rotation and struggled, yielding seven hits and three earned runs over 2 1/3 innings last Thursday against the Phillies. Tyler Lyons is getting the next crack at it on Tuesday night versus the Cubs. But the best bet for that spot is 23-year-old left-hander Marco Gonzales, who has been sidelined at Triple-A Memphis since April 22 because of a sore left pectoral muscle.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gonzalez has been cleared to return to the Memphis rotation on Saturday. He’ll be on a pitch count in his first game back, but if the outing goes well and Lyons struggles there will probably be strong consideration given to promoting Gonzales late next week.

Gonzales was the 19th overall pick in 2013 out of Gonzaga University. He posted an underwhelming 4.15 ERA and 1.529 WHIP in 34 2/3 innings last season for the Cardinals, but his minor league numbers are very good. In a total of 161 1/3 frames on the farm, Gonzales boasts a 2.68 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 153/38 K/BB ratio.

Jaime Garcia (shoulder) is nearing a rehab assignment and could also become an option for the Cards’ rotation at some point, but he has not been able to stay discomfort-free for an extended period of time.