Gonzales looking like callup option for Cards

Gonzales looking like callup option for Cards

ST. LOUIS -- After throwing 71 pitches over 3 2/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday, Cardinals No. 2 prospect Marco Gonzales sits one start away from putting himself in position to be an option once again for the Major League club.

Gonzales endured a two-month shutdown to eliminate an impingement in his left shoulder and strengthen the area in order to prevent a re-occurrence. He then returned with a pair of short appearances for Class A Advanced Palm Beach and followed with two starts for the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate.

Gonzales' most recent outing came on Wednesday, when the lefty allowed three hits, struck out four and walked none.

In stretching himself out to a pitch count of 71, Gonzales should push toward 90 his next time out. Manager Mike Matheny confirmed that Gonzales' next start will be with Triple-A Memphis.

"He's throwing real well," Matheny said. "Everything is there. He's got great fastball command, and even the cutter is coming along. He's using it right. Everything we're hearing is positive, so it's just another step for him in the right direction."

Gonzales isn't necessarily coming right to the big leagues after passing that next step, but he will at least position himself as a callup candidate for the first time since April. The Cardinals expected Gonzales to be a key contributor this year until a shoulder injury interrupted his progress.

Other news and notes from around the Minor League system:

• Right-hander Alex Reyes, who was recently promoted to Double-A, is scheduled to make his debut for Springfield (Mo.) on Saturday. Reyes is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the organization's second-best pitching prospect. He went 2-5 with a 2.26 ERA in 13 starts with Palm Beach before moving up a level.

• Reliever Jordan Walden (right biceps inflammation) began a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday, joining the Double-A team.

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.