Siegrist struggling to find command on mound

Siegrist struggling to find command on mound

NEW YORK -- Though he escaped the eighth inning unscathed in Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Yankees, reliever Kevin Siegrist continues to search for his command, which has been mostly elusive since the Cardinals broke camp.

Friday was Siegrist's fourth appearance of the season, and in each of the last three, he's walked two batters. A year after averaging 3.8 walks per nine innings, Siegrist has thus far thrown 56 percent of his pitches for balls. He's generated three total swing-and-misses, has seen the velocity drop on all of his pitches and is missing consistently to off the third-base side of the plate.

"In spring, he was a little slow getting going; he didn't feel right," manager Mike Matheny said. "At the end, he was getting closer. I think it's just going to have to be continuing to get him opportunities. He'll find his rhythm. He's a feel guy. I think he feels a little off right now."

"I think it just comes on throwing more," Siegrist said. "I just have to throw more. I just don't feel sharp right now."

Siegrist did get into spring games a week later than most due to tightness in the shoulder/triceps area of his pitching arm. He ended up pitching seven Grapefruit League innings, walking two and striking out eight.

Though the Cardinals haven't cited it as an excuse, it could be that workload is catching up to the left-hander, who was expected to serve as one of the setup men. He made 148 appearances from 2015-16, fifth-most among all relievers.

According to Statcast™, the velocity has dipped on his four-seam fastball (93.43 mph to 92.39 mph), changeup (85.18 mph to 84.68 mph) and curveball (73.62 mph to 72.28 mph) from last year to this one.

"When he feels right, it comes out a little better, easier," Matheny said. "Right now, he's working and fighting to make quality pitches in big situations. We'll continue to get him some consistent work and hopefully he'll be able to turn the corner."

Lyons to continue rehab stint
Left-hander Tyler Lyons, who threw six scoreless innings in a rehab start on Wednesday, will pitch again for Triple-A Memphis next week, Matheny confirmed.

Lyons opened the season on the 10-day disabled list after undergoing right knee surgery in November, and he has looked sharp in a pair of rehab appearances. But unless a need arises with the Major League club, the Cardinals seem content to extend Lyons' rehab assignment toward the maximum 30-day length. That will give the club more time to determine Lyons' fit since he is out of options.

Worth noting
Mitch Harris, who underwent right elbow surgery last June, was recently activated from the disabled list and made his season debut with Memphis on Thursday. In a 20-pitch inning, Harris allowed two runs on three hits.

Carlos Martinez did not get a chance to face former teammate Matt Holliday on Saturday, as Holliday was a late scratch from the Yankees' lineup.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.