Lynn Has An Opportunity With Cardinals

Righthander could fill in with injuries to rotation





JUPITER, Fla.—The Cardinals don't need to look far for proof of Lance Lynn's durability. It's consistency the club wants to see from the righthander as he arrives on the brink of the big  league rotation.

Lynn, 23, came to spring training as the Cardinals' de facto No. 6 starter, the young arm that would be groomed at Triple-A Memphis should a major league starter have a prolonged absence in 2011. That plan changed with Adam Wainwright's Tommy John surgery, and Lynn was thrust into the contest for the opening, albeit as a challenger to Kyle McClellan.

"You always hope for a chance," Lynn said. "If the opportunity arises I want to show them that I am ready and that I am capable of handling the situation."

Lynn went 13-10, 4.77 in 29 starts for Memphis in 2010, and he did not miss a start. The burly righthander came out of Ole Miss with the reputation of being an innings workhorse and has not disappointed, making all of his 64 scheduled starts in his two full seasons of pro ball. Taken 39th overall in 2008, Lynn is the prototypical Cardinals pitching pick—reliable, predictable and sinker-oriented.

The righthander has good downward movement on his fastball, but in 2010 he leaned more on his four-seam fastball and saw a spike in velocity that caught the club's eye. In his final start of the season, a Pacific Coast League playoff start, Lynn struck out a franchise-record 16 batters. Overall last season he fanned 141 in 164 innings.

The Cardinals want him to get an encore in Memphis to build on that finish, repeat that regularity. This spring, he's working with his sinker, mixing in the power, and competing—if not for the present opening, then certainly for any in the future.

"I wanted to come in here and show them that is me," Lynn said. "That's who I am. I'm a guy who can give you a lot of innings and do well."

REDBIRD CHIRPS

• Shortly before minor league camp opened, highly touted prospect Carlos Martinez threw a bullpen for Cardinals' brass, the first time some of them had seen the 19-year-old righty in person. Martinez pitched nervous but showed the advertised power and a loose, athletic delivery.

• First-round pick Zack Cox was optioned to low Class A Quad Cities. The Cardinals are open to the third baseman playing his way into a starting role at a higher level.