St. Louis Cardinals

Martinez to miss at least one start with back stiffness

Carlos Martinez is battling a sore back that will force him to surrender his start Tuesday night against Washington.

Martinez, whose 13 wins are second on the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, will be replaced by Marco Gonzales, who making his first start of the season for St. Louis.

“It’s probably something he could pitch through,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Martinez’s issue, which cropped up several days ago. “But this is that time of the year. (When) we get to a point where we see he might need a little time, we give it to him. It’s an opportunity for us to bring in Marco. It will give Carlos a little more time.”

The Cardinals don’t know how much time Martinez will need. They hope just one start will be sufficient enough to allow the back to settle.

“It’s yet to be determined,” Matheny said. “We’ll talk about that a little bit more (Tuesday) as far as whether he bounces in later this week or whether we wait until he comes back around. Either way, he’ll get a little more rest, which is a good thing right now.”

Gonzales is 1-4 with a 5.20 ERA in 13 starts at Class AAA Memphis. He has battled a shoulder impingement that sidelined him for the second half of May, all of June and part of July. Matheny said Tyler Lyons might have been an option, but Lyons hasn’t been back in Memphis for the required 10 days before being eligible to return.

Matheny said Martinez’s situation didn’t blind-side the Cardinals, who already were attempting to find some time to idle Martinez, whose 154 2/3 innings are a career-high.

“We’ve been planning this for a few days, really since his last start,” Matheny said. “We knew about his back being a little tight, but he was doing almsot all his typical work between starts and there wasn’t an issue there.

“We had our eyes wide-open for an opportunity when we could maybe give him a little extended rest. This is going to be it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we try and figure out how to do the same thing with Michael (Wacha) before we get to the end of this upcoming month.”

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 618-239-2665. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidMWilhelm.

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