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.

Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife gives birth

Zack Wheeler miss starts
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Per The Athletic’s Matt Gelb, Phillies starter Zack Wheeler will miss at least two starts when his wife goes into labor and gives birth to their first child, expected to be later this month. Wheeler, in fact, is not sure if he will return to play at all once their child is born.

Wheeler said, “We just have to see how things are here at the field and at the stadium. I’m happy with what I see so far. But things could change, especially once our baby’s born. I always think about what’s going on around me. Is it safe? Is it OK? Literally every single day. I have to just ask myself that. I’m going to continue to keep asking myself that every day.”

Wheeler, 30, inked a five-year, $118 million contract with the Phillies in December. He is slated for the No. 2 spot in the rotation behind Aaron Nola. Last season, with the Mets, Wheeler posted a 3.96 ERA with 195 strikeouts and 50 walks over 195 1/3 innings.

The No. 5 spot in the Phillies’ rotation is currently up for grabs between Nick Pivetta, Vince Velasquez, Ranger Suárez, and prospect Spencer Howard. One of the remaining three could fill in for Wheeler when he needs time off, temporarily or otherwise.