Healthy Lynn Joins Cardinals Bullpen
Righthander makes postseason roster
ST. LOUIS—When righthander Lance Lynn started his rehab from an oblique strain that interrupted a breakout year, the question wasn't whether he would pitch again this season. It was whether the Cardinals' season would last long enough for him to pitch again.
It did. So he did.
Lynn was a surprise addition to the St. Louis roster for the National League Championship Series, a reliever who had not pitched since Aug. 9 and had spent the previous two months on the disabled list. What he had done when healthy was too good to pass up in the postseason: He had reinvented himself.
"For me the goal was always to get back for the end of the year," Lynn said. "When I went on the 60-day (DL) that was kind of out the window. When we got to the playoffs, I knew I could be back for that. I had the luxury in that the team got hot, and that made it possible for me to come back."
Lynn, 24, had spent all of his career as a starter and established a strong reputation in the minors for his ability to make every start since being drafted 39th overall out of Mississippi in 2008.
Lynn served as workhorse ace for Triple-A Memphis in 2010, going 13-10, 4.77 and leading the PCL with 141 strikeouts in 164 innings. That season, specifically that postseason, ended with a revelation. During his playoff start, Lynn struck out a franchise-record 16 batters and did so with raw heat.
The Cardinals reconsidered their evaluation of the hulking 6-foot-5 righthander, upgrading him to something more than a projected back-end starter. And when he arrived in the majors, Lynn became something else entirely.
Deployed initially as a spot starter, he stuck around as a long reliever. Before his injury, Lynn's fastball was humming at 97 mph—up from the 90-91 he threw as a starter—with the same offspeed command he needed as a starter. He posted a 2.22 ERA in 16 appearances out of the Cardinals bullpen with 32 strikeouts and eight walks in 24 innings.
It was enough to perhaps shift the view of him entirely, from a Triple-A starter in 2012 to a likely major league reliever.
• To make room on the 40-man roster for Lynn and righthander Eduardo Sanchez, the Cardinals outrigthed outfielder Andrew Brown and righty Francisco Samuel to Memphis.
• Fleet-footed rookie outfielder Adron Chambers earned a spot on the postseason roster. Chambers hit .277/.368/.415 with 22 steals at Memphis in 2011.