Cooney to take another turn Sunday in Pittsburgh

Cooney to take another turn Sunday in Pittsburgh

CHICAGO -- The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that Tim Cooney will draw the team's final start of the first half and pitch in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The organization settled on Cooney after watching the lefty allow one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings in Game 2 of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cubs. The start was the third of Cooney's big league career and his sharpest yet.

The Cardinals also considered Tyler Lyons, who allowed three runs on seven hits and five walks in a 5 2/3-inning Game 1 outing. The club needed to keep one of the two young lefties in the rotation for at least one more turn while Jaime Garcia recovers from a left groin strain.

"I thought they both threw well," manager Mike Matheny said. "Tim did a real nice job and we'll give him another spot. We'll have Tyler go back and continue to be ready for us."

Worth noting:

• In order to clear a spot for first baseman Dan Johnson on the 25-man roster, the Cardinals optioned reliever Marcus Hatley to Triple-A. Hatley made two appearances during his first Major League callup.

• The organization also had to open a place for Johnson on the 40-man roster. That was done by designating shortstop Aledmys Diaz for assignment. The Cardinals signed the Cuban shortstop to a four-year, $8 million Major League contract in March 2013, but Diaz has not yet advanced above Double-A.

With Diaz due the remainder of his $1.5 million salary this year and $4 million more over the next two years, the Cardinals are taking a gamble that he will not be claimed on waivers by another club and can therefore remain in the organization. Diaz, 24, has hit .235/.292/.344 in 61 games for Double-A Springfield this season.

• Lefty Marco Gonzales (left shoulder impingement) remains on schedule to return to the mound on Friday and make a start for Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Gonzales will be held to a pitch count of 35-40 in what will be his first start since May 19.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.