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Cardinals RHP Wacha optioned to Triple-A Memphis

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha, right, is pulled out of a baseball game by manager Mike Matheny during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Michael Wacha, right, is pulled out of a baseball game by manager Mike Matheny during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday, June 4, 2013, in St. Louis. Photo by The Associated Press.

MIAMI (AP) — Rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons will remain in the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, edging out rookie right-hander Michael Wacha, who was optioned Friday to Triple-A Memphis.

The Cardinals had to choose between the two with the return of right-hander Jake Westbrook. He had been on the disabled list since June 9 with elbow inflammation, and was activated as expected to start Friday at Miami.

Wacha, 22, made a rapid ascent after pitching last year for Texas A&M, joining the Cardinals for three starts. Lyons is three years older and has more professional experience, which was a factor in the decision, manager Mike Matheny said.

"You can't forget — Wacha was in college a year ago," Matheny said. "It's nice having that left-hander in the rotation. It has been nice to watch Tyler do his thing. He has been very efficient and given us a chance when he has been out there. Michael did a great job too, but right now it's a better fit for Tyler."

Lyons, who will start Sunday against the Marlins, is 2-2 with a 3.51 ERA in four games. Wacha went 1-0 with an ERA of 4.58.

Wacha's return to the minors will give him a chance to improve command of his fastball, Matheny said.

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