Mar 2, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Tim Cooney (66) throws the ball against the New York Mets at Roger Dean Stadium. Image Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Could Tim Cooney break camp with the St. Louis Cardinals?

Tim Cooney, the St. Louis Cardinals 3rd round selection in the 2012 draft, was rather impressive in his 2014 spring debut for the Cardinals. The former Wake Forest pitcher was solid in two innings of work as the left-handed struck out four batters.

After splitting the 2013 season between Palm Beach and Springfield, Cooney is likely to start the 2014 season with the Memphis Redbirds.

Spring Training is where many of the organization’s top prospects are able to shine in front of manager Mike Matheny and executives like general manager John Mozeliak. Fans saw it last year in the innings that Michael Wacha pitched. There was a glimmer of hope that he would break camp with the Cardinals but ended up starting the season at Memphis before making his debut in late May.

For Cooney, his case is difference because of his being a left-handed pitcher. Jaime Garcia is out of the running for the Cardinals rotation due to being shut down for a few weeks. In theory, it opened up a spot in the rotation. The question is whether Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist would like to go with a southpaw rather than an all-RHP rotation. Would they go with Tyler Lyons, who did see some time in the rotation last year, or would they go with a fresh face like Cooney?

Matheny and Lilliquist are are amongst Cooney’s fans, notes Post-Dispatch scribe Rick Hummel.

“What we see is a guy who has potential to do something nice as a starter,” Matheny said. “But his breaking ball plays – you can see that. That’s something you never cross out as potential to help you out against lefthanders but right now, he’s got too good stuff against righties and lefties not to think of him as a future starter.

“He’s got some interesting stuff.”

Lilliquist, starting his third season after replacing Dave Duncan, was just as complimentary of Cooney, saying that “he’s got a good idea of where the ball is going all the time.”

Tags: St Louis Cardinals

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