St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler Lyons Has Knee Surgery; Will Miss 5-6 Months

The St. Louis Cardinals received some bad news regarding their pitching staff. Left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons will be out for a minimum of five months after going through extensive knee surgery.

St. Louis Cardinals reliever and spot starter, Tyler Lyons had surgery Tuesday to repair issues in his knee. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Lyons felt a consistent pain in his knee and it eventually led to the decision to undergo a surgical procedure.

This isn’t the first time that Lyons had difficulty with the knee.  Prior to Tuesday’s surgery, Lyons had healthy cartilage injected into the knee where there was damage to try to fix the problem. Despite that, Lyons still experienced pain which kept him out for much of the 2016 season.

During the 2016 season, Lyons appeared in 30 games and posted a record of 2-0, with a 3.38 ERA.  He had 46 strikeouts and 14 walks.  Although Tyler Lyons is a left-handed pitcher, the St. Louis Cardinals have used him as a multi-inning reliever and aren’t worried about him facing right-handed hitters.

Lyons’s surgery along with Zach Duke‘s elbow surgery leaves the bullpen of the Cardinals with two injured lefties to start the season. Duke’s Tommy John injury will keep him out for the majority, if not the entirety, of the upcoming season.  These injuries certainly throw yet another wrench into the decision making for the front office this offseason.

From within the organization, the two most logical options to join Kevin Siegrist as the lefties in the bullpen are Marco Gonzales and Tim Cooney.  Both of them, however, are coming off their own surgeries that held them out for the 2016 season.

Gonzales is entering his 25-year old season, and to this point has been used primarily as a starter.  Six of his 11 MLB appearances have been starts and he has a career 4.82 ERA.  Cooney has started in all six of the games he appeared at the MLB level back in 2015 which resulted in an ERA of 3.16.

Due to both Gonzalez and Cooney having substantial injuries in 2016, there are questions surrounding their return.  Gonzales is coming back from Tommy John surgery and Cooney is in recovery from surgery on his shoulder.  Any injury has no guarantee of coming back the same, and arm injuries are an even bigger mystery.

It seems like the bullpen in St. Louis can’t catch a break.  It may complicate the front office decisions, because there is still a need in the outfield as well.  Lyons will be back early in the season if his recovery goes as scheduled but this knee problem has lingered.

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With a weak free agent class, the St. Louis Cardinals front office has its work cut out for them.  Unless General Manager John Mozeliak works his Cardinal magic, the best way to resolve the bullpen issues is either via trade or trust Gonzalez and Cooney.  The Cardinals and us as fans are all expecting to be in the playoffs in 2017 but there are already obstacles in the way. But, no one said it would be easy to get back to October baseball.

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