Cardinals Minors News Roundup – July 7

Tyler Lyons has returned to St. Louis with Joe Kelly coming soon. That news and much more follows - from St. Louis to the Gulf Coast League.

Lyons Offering Relief

On Monday, the Cardinals recalled left-hander Tyler Lyons to St. Louis from Triple-A Memphis to pitch in long relief. This will be Lyons’ second stint with the big league club, after he logged a 6.12 ERA (17 earned runs in 25 innings) and 23 strikeouts and seven walks in six games (four starts) with St. Louis from April 21 to May 12.

With the Redbirds, the 26-year-old was 2-1 with a 5.35 ERA (21 earned in 35 1/3 innings) in seven starts. Lyons had been out from May 13 until June 9 with a left shoulder strain and since then, between Springfield and Memphis, his ERA is 7.36.

Gonzales Triple-A Debut

In the corresponding move with Lyons, left-hander Marco Gonzales has been optioned to Triple-A. Gonzales will be appearing at his fourth different level this season after making his big league debut on June 25 at Coors Field.

The Cardinal Nation’s no. 2 prospect in the system was 0-2 with a 7.07 ERA and 10 strikeouts vs. 11 walks in 14 innings over in three starts for the Cardinals. Prior to his call-up, the 22-year-old had a 1.89 earned run average in 13 starts combined between Advanced-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield.

Kelly Coming

The Cardinals announced that right-hander Joe Kelly will return from his Triple-A rehab stint to start on Friday evening in Milwaukee. He will be taking Gonzales’ spot in St. Louis’ rotation. With the latter’s struggles, it appears the Cards are accelerating their earlier plans for Kelly’s return.

While Kelly has built his pitch count up to 72 in his most recent stint, he has yet to go over 4 1/3 innings in any of his three minor league starts. The 26-year-old has a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 Triple-A innings. Kelly has been on the MLB DL since April 16 with a lingering left hamstring strain.

Pina Injured

Promising shortstop prospect Leobaldo Pina was placed on the seven-day disabled list of State College on Saturday, July 5th, backdated to July 3rd. During the July 2nd contest at Batavia, Pina had injured his left ankle. Running out of the box, he appeared to have turned it on first base. The 20-year-old tried to play in the field during the next inning, but left the game after a few batters.

In his first 12 games, 47 at-bats, above the Gulf Coast League, Pina was batting just .170/.235/.213.

The organization added a replacement player, so it could be that Pina will not be back quickly.

Reyes Move Makes Sense

That replacement is a familiar face. Just four games after being promoted to Class-A Peoria for a second time, infielder Robelys Reyes was returned to short-season Class-A State College on Monday.

In his two stints with Peoria this season and first with State College, Reyes appeared in nine games at each stop. The switch-hitter’s results have been substantially better at the lower level - .349/.364/.395 compared to .182/.217/.182.

Alexander’s Brief Independence

Being located within the Cardinals minor league complex in Jupiter, Florida means that the Palm Beach Cardinals can call upon the less-experienced, but eager players in the facility for short-term roster needs.

That is how Gulf Coast League right-handed reliever Kevin Alexander was promoted to the Florida State League – for one day, on July 4th. The 2014 free agent signee was pounded for four runs, three earned, on three hits and two walks in one inning at Bradenton and was returned to the GCL roster the next day.

The Cardinals recently made a similar one-day Palm Beach move with another free agent signee, GCL lefty Dylan Hawkins, back on June 28-29, but he did not appear before being returned.

Cabellero on the Move

Another GCL reliever was recently promoted, but it was not a one-day move. On July 4th, right-handed pitcher Juan Caballero was elevated to Johnson City. In six innings over five GCL games, the 21-year-old had allowed just one run on three hits (including a solo homer) and no walks with six strikeouts.

Johnson City Sweeps Weekly Appy Awards

The Cardinals took both the Player and Pitcher of the Week Awards for the rookie level Appalachian League for the period of June 30 through July 6. The winners are first baseman Casey Grayson and pitcher Ian McKinney.

The left-handed hitter logged five multi-hit games in seven contests last week en route to a line of .480/.519/.640 with 10 RBI. Grayson, the Cards’ 21st-rounder from the University of Houston, is third in the League with a .404 average through 15 games.

In three weeks of the season, McKinney is dominating Appy League hitters and this pitching award. He was the circuit's first Pitcher of the Week on June 23 and has now done it again. On Friday, the 19-year-old lefty fanned 10 over eight two-hit, scoreless frames.

Overall, in 18 Appy League innings, McKinney has yielded one run on six hits and two walks while striking out 18.

More News on the Way

Please remember to check back here. If additional transaction news comes to light on Monday, it will be added to this article!

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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