ST. LOUIS -- Left-hander Tim Cooney will become the second member of the Cardinals' 2012 First-Year Player Draft class to ascend to the Majors when he debuts on Thursday as a rotation replacement for Adam Wainwright.
Manager Mike Matheny announced the organization's decision to name Cooney to the rotation on Tuesday, a day after the Cardinals learned that Wainwright will have to rescind his starting spot for the rest of the year as he recovers from a left Achilles tear.
"I tell them that what you do when you get an opportunity to pitch in front of us [in Spring Training] creates opportunities," Matheny said. "I think he made the most of it this spring and has thrown the ball well so far this year. We're going to give him a shot to show what he can do at this level."
Cooney, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the club's No. 10 prospect, did impress the Major League staff in his second year as a non-roster invitee to Major League camp. Since breaking camp with Triple-A Memphis, Cooney is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA. Six of the seven earned runs he allowed with Memphis came in one outing. Over 17 1/3 innings, Cooney struck out 14 and walked five.
He had his scheduled start on Monday skipped in preparation for the possibility of joining the big league rotation. In the end, Cooney received the nod over Tyler Lyons, who has made 12 spot starts for the Cardinals over the last two years.
The Cardinals selected Cooney as a third-round pick out of Wake Forest University three years ago, when the organization made Michael Wacha its top pick. Cooney led the Pacific Coast League with 14 wins in 2014.
"You see a lineup like [the Phillies'] one with a lot of left-handed batters, and his breaking ball plays there," Matheny said. "Put him in this atmosphere, and let's watch what he can do."
Cooney is expected to join the team on Wednesday. The Cardinals will have to add him to the 40-man roster, though that can be done easily by shifting Wainwright to the 60-day disabled list.