Because he was slated to miss the season rehabbing Tommy John surgery, Lance Lynn was out of the fantasy baseball conversation for 2016. Fortunately for the Cardinals and fantasy owners alike, the procedure was a success and Lynn is expected to return to action in 2017. Although it may take a few outings for him to hit his previous stride, as he'll have been away from the majors for over a year, Lynn will look to return to his 2014 and 2015 form. Lynn threw 6.2 innings across three rehab starts in the minors at the latter end of 2016. Although it was a minuscule sample size against subpar competition at High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield, the outings were encouraging nonetheless as he recorded seven strikeouts and allowed just one earned run without surrendering a single walk. Lynn is expected to begin 2017 as a fixture in the St. Louis rotation again and could be a sneaky pick late in fantasy drafts.
Lynn (ribs), who was scheduled to start for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday night, will instead take the mound earlier that day in a minor-league game in Jupiter, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The change in venue isn't due to any new injury concerns for Lynn, but rather, uncertainty as to the weather forecast for Memphis' game. As per manager Mike Matheny, Lynn remains a candidate to start the third game of the regular season versus the Cubs on April 5.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny downplayed the back injury Lynn suffered during Saturday's Grapefruit League appearance, saying that he expects the right-hander to pitch Thursday in his final start of the spring, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Lynn threw just one inning Saturday after experiencing upper-back stiffness, which had resulted in a downturn in his velocity. His removal was deemed precautionary, however, and after meeting with a chiropractor after the outing, it doesn't sound like Lynn is at much risk of missing the start of the season. Matheny indicated that Lynn is expected to approach 80 pitches in his start Thursday, and if all goes well, he'll likely face no restrictions when he takes the hill for his first MLB start since 2015 in the first week of April.
Lynn was removed from Saturday's game after just one inning due to precautionary reasons, according to general manager John Mozeliak, MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch reports. Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Lynn's fastball velocity was below 90 mph on most of his pitches before exiting. He threw 10 pitches and was in the high 80s on most of his pitches, rather than his customary 93-94 mph range. Lynn told Mozeliak that he was experiencing right rib discomfort but did not seem concerned, however a velocity drop of this magnitude suggests that it could be more than just a day-to-day thing. We will update his status when the Cardinals provide more information.
Lynn (1-1) gave up four hits and one walk over five scoreless innings in Sunday's 5-2 Grapefruit League win over the Braves. He struck out three. Lynn scattered four singles, not allowing more than one hit in any inning or any baserunner to reach third. The hard-throwing righty's ERA is now 1.29 over 14 spring innings following Sunday's outing. "Five innings, 75 pitches. That was the goal," said Lynn, who actually got through five on 73 pitches (44 strikes). "Not a lot of long-pitch innings, which was good. Missed some spots here and there, but for the most part, I felt pretty good. The last couple innings, I felt better as I went on."
Lynn (0-1) racked up three strikeouts and gave up one earned run on two hits over three innings in Thursday's 3-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Astros. Lynn fired 55 pitches over his three frames, 42 of which found the strike zone. The hard-throwing right-hander cruised through the first two innings, notching a pair of called third strikes on Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel to close out the first and punching out A.J. Reed in the same manner to put a bow on the second. A wild pitch in the third moved Teoscar Hernandez to third after he'd lead off with a double, and Colin Moran's single brought him home, leading to the only real blemish on Lynn's record Thursday. The veteran had good command and was encouraged by the fact that he consistently threw his breaking ball for strikes, and by his overall stamina as he works back from missing all of last season. "The ball was coming out good, I had good command in the strike zone. ... I have a ligament that is repaired, and I was pitching with it torn," Lynn said. "So I feel good. I pitched with a bad elbow for a while, so for it to feel good is an exciting feeling. I feel strong. I just got to get going."