Cardinals send Tyler Lyons back to AAA Memphis, opening rotation spot for Jaime Garcia

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Tim Cooney got the first crack at replacing Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals’ starting rotation and failed, allowing three runs on seven hits over just 2 1/3 innings on April 30 against the Phillies. Tyler Lyons was the next man up but he also struggled, yielding 10 runs — eight earned — over 13 innings in an audition that spanned three starts. He didn’t make it out of the top of the fourth inning Saturday in the Cardinals’ second straight loss to the Tigers.

That’s gonna do it for the Lyons experiment …

Nothing is official yet, but it looks like oft-injured left-hander Jaime Garcia will fill the Cardinals’ rotation vacancy on Thursday at the Mets’ Citi Field. Garcia has been out all season with a shoulder injury that has lingered now for three years, but he struck out six batters and allowed only two runs over six innings Friday in his latest rehab start at Double-A Springfield. He was shelled for five runs in 2 2/3 innings the outing before.

Garcia has always been an effective starting pitcher when healthy, boasting a 3.50 ERA and 476 strikeouts in 594 2/3 career major league innings. St. Louis is paying him a $9.25 million salary this season in the final year of a four-year, $27 million contract extension. If Garcia struggles or begins feeling renewed discomfort in his throwing shoulder, 23-year-old left-hander Marco Gonzales will probably get the next chance.

Wainwright is done for the season following surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles tendon.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.