JUPITER, Fla. -- The competition for an opening on the Cardinals' bench was reduced by one before Tuesday's 7-1 win over the Marlins, as infielder Greg Garcia was among the latest wave of players cut from Major League camp. He and lefty Tyler Lyons were optioned to Triple-A. The Cardinals also reassigned catcher Carson Kelly and infielder Breyvic Valera to the Minors.
Garcia, touted as one of the utility infielders vying for a Major League roster spot, went 4-for-13 (.308) in Grapefruit League play. He played a variety of infield positions, something the Cardinals may have him continue to do in order to prepare him for a potential midseason callup.
Lyons did not enter camp as a candidate for an Opening Day rotation spot, but he's considered part of the Cardinals' starting depth. He will begin the season in the Triple-A Memphis rotation for a third straight year. Lyons struggled this spring, allowing seven runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings (three appearances). The Twins tagged him for five runs in a two-inning appearance on Saturday.
"Tyler's message is figuring out consistency, because when he's right, it's really good," manager Mike Matheny said. "And for Garcia, it's coming down to opportunity. I'd say this is probably the most middle infielders we've had in camp, as far as guys who legitimately have a chance to make this team."
A year after transitioning to catcher, Kelly showed much more proficiency at the position this spring. He's expected to begin the season in Class A Advanced Palm Beach, a level higher than he finished in 2014. Valera will provide infield depth at Memphis.
"I gave him the best compliment he could probably get as a catcher, the fact that he looked like he belonged in camp as a big league catcher," Matheny said of Kelly. "What we kind of envisioned a year ago, I believe, is coming to fruition now. We're watching a young player who has all the characteristics and skill set to be an impact player in the game."
With Tuesday's moves, the Cardinals now have 48 players remaining in big league camp.