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Top Prospects: Marco Gonzales, LHP, Cardinals

A pair of southpaws are slated to make their Major League debuts at Coors Field on Wednesday afternoon in the series finale between the Cardinals and Rockies.

With right-hander Michael Wacha and left-hander Jaime Garcia both having been placed on the disabled list due to shoulder injuries, St. Louis' first-round selection in 2013 First-Year Player Draft, 22-year-old Marco Gonzales, is scheduled to take the ball.

Colorado is set to counter with 28-year-old Yohan Flande, who pitched in the Philadelphia and Atlanta systems before being acquired by the Rockies. He spent nine seasons in the Minors. His opportunity comes on the heels of an injury to another rookie hurler, right-hander Christian Bergman, who was hit in the left hand by a line drive in his last start on Friday against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Gonzales, the Cardinals' No. 4 prospect, advanced from rookie ball to Double-A Springfield in just over a year, posting a 1.89 ERA and striking out 78 batters in 76 1/3 innings between Class A Advanced Palm Beach and Double-A before being called up.

"We just think there have been a lot of things going in a good direction [for Gonzales]," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said on Tuesday. "I think he's ready. ... He deserves an opportunity."

"I couldn't have written it any better than this," Gonzalez said of his imminent debut. "It came a lot faster than I thought it was going to come, but I believe that I'm ready and the organization believes in me."

Gonzales' debut will also be a homecoming, since he is a native of nearby Fort Collins, where he starred for Rocky Mountain High.

"I think most of it is mental," Gonzales said of pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field in the thin Colorado air. "I think a lot of guys shy away from coming to Colorado ... but I love it."

To make room on the 25-man roster for Gonzales, shortstop Pete Kozma was designated for assignment.

Flande struggled while at Triple-A Colorado Springs, posting a 2-9 record with a 4.42 ERA in 14 appearances (13 starts).

"I got to see him this spring," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said on Tuesday. "I got a small glimpse of him, really. He's a left-handed pitcher who has shown the ability to get ground balls, and we'll see what he has."

Colorado hopes he can fill in admirably in a pinch and help the Rockies take the series from the defending National League champions.

Cardinals: Molina is key to Gonzales' debut
Catcher Yadier Molina got a scheduled day off on Tuesday, though he pinch-hit and caught in the eighth, but having him back in the starting lineup on Wednesday will be a huge lift, given that Gonzales will be making his debut.

"It's great to have a smart catcher like Yadi, who knows how to maximize a young kid's stuff and what he's comfortable doing," said Matheny. "Yadi has done it a number of times with our young pitchers. He [tells] them, 'You pitch your game, I'll catch on. I'll help you and I won't let you do anything stupid.'

"That's a huge security blanket for a young pitcher -- to know I can go be myself ... but they're watching in case I get off track a little bit."

Rockies: Bergman joins long list with injured hands
Bergman, who before undergoing an MRI exam thought he would be able to make his scheduled start on Wednesday, was diagnosed with a broken trapezium bone at the heel of his left hand.

The right-hander joins fellow pitchers Brett Anderson (broken left index finger) and Jordan Lyles (broken left hand), as well as third baseman Nolan Arenado (broken left middle finger) and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez (surgery to remove a tumor in left index finger) with injuries involving hands.

"It's been strange," Weiss said on Tuesday. "Kind of an epidemic around here."

Worth Noting
• Gonzales was originally selected by the Rockies in the 29th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, but opted to go to college.

• The Rockies' 10-5 win over the Cardinals on Tuesday was their second in eight games against National League Central opponents this season.

• The 10 runs St. Louis gave up Tuesday were the most Cardinals pitchers have allowed since yielding a season-high 17 against the Cubs on May 12 at Busch Stadium. Comments